Women’s (Lack of) SolidarityZoran
Around 8 March everybody was talking about women’s entrepreneurship in the whole region. This year, despite numerous calls to the same panels I successfully avoided all meetings in Zagreb (many were just moneylaundering, and by that I mean that people who work in this field for years get very rarely or not at all the subsidies, while the others just show up and at once pick up a considerable amount of money), but I was in Belgrade and Sarajevo.
Let’s go one by one.
First, there is no women’s entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship knows no gender, age, nothing… There are no glass ceilings, the only judge of our success is the market, and we will succeed if our product solves customers’ problems, if we are persistent, if we do what we love…
However, there is the issue of women in entrepreneurship. There is the fact that there are women who want and can do more, but they need support and encouragement. Eventually, the whole society can benefit from it. Why? Without entering into extensive pointless debates, when a woman starts up her own business, people from her environment expect that she will continue to do everything else as usual, plus women very often do not have any property of their own and that is why they cannot easily access traditional means of financing.
At the presentation that I attended in Sarajevo it was said that in Bosnia two years after starting up survives every second company launched by a woman. The other day I read that the investors from the Shark Tank claim that the best return of investments secure the companies launched and run by women.
What’s the matter, are women on Balkans less capable? Of course not, when we look at the condition we work in, we can only conclude that we are more capable than our western colleagues are, but women here have lesser support from their environment. They may have a declarative support like: you have just started, here are subsidies, I am here for you, etc. However, then a husband, mother-in-law or mother expect that everything at home is as usual. To launch a business from a scratch requires a lot of energy and there is no way that at home everything will stay the same.
Women need support. They will not seek it; they will rather break than seek it. Therefore, it is up to us to give it to them. They need someone to take care of a child, do to part or most of the housework, and all that without judgement, without putting feeling of guilt or remorse on them. Without eruptions of jealousy, throwing out of apartment / car when she wants to go to a business trip, without receiving messages at a business dinner like: this has gone too far, you are still out… Without messages like: I have sacrificed my life for you, you cannot behave as if you have never been born… You know, you should spend more time with her, she is your mother…
I have become tired of questions like: who takes care of your son (I have already written about it, when men hear about my business successes they comment it like: great, bravo, what do you plan next, and women ask me who takes care of my son…).
Most modern women (all is a matter of choice, nothing is either good or bad) want to be it all – a wife and a mother, an entrepreneur, have a carrier … The topic of another blog is how to come to it. I want to point out here that those who want it have all right to want it, so you help them and if you do not want it, at least get out of the way.
Our lives, our rules.
All of us that have given birth have heard unwanted advice at least a couple of hundred, if not thousands of times… From you have given birth naturally, you have had a Caesarean section, you breastfeed him, you do not breastfeed him, you still breastfeed him, you do not breastfeed him anymore, you have not breastfed him at all?! He still has diapers, he still has a pacifier, he still does not talk, he already talks, he does not do sports, he goes to “only” 63 different kinds of sports, you have not been on maternity leave? You still do not work; you have already started to work…?
If by any miracle we are happy to avoid all that, then there is a campaign that first three years are the most important ones. I cannot comment other professions, but I can tell you that I really liked a comment of one psychologist – each year is as equally important. Every moment is important. To our child it is very important that we are at his side when it matters to him – at a kindergarten performance, when he receives his first marks, when he falls in love for the first time, when he gets his first beating, when she gets her first period, etc. Everything is important, each year is important.
Therefore, if we want it all, we have a right to it. Without apologizing, without guilt.
I do not need to ask men to do that, they do it. They open the doors, many entrepreneurs admitted they offered women to run their companies, they say that women are better workers, that the companies where women are in the leadership are more profitable, but women do not want all that. That is also ok; everybody has a right to choose.
However, the message to women – open that door to another woman; do not let us listen to the same story every year: men open the doors but women stab other women in the back…
Let us celebrate 8 March otherwise. It is a high time for it.