Today we celebrate the International Women’s day, a day as important as ever, both in Norway and even more in other parts of the world. Around the world women experience inequality and injustice not to be forgotten or accepted, on this day or any other.
In Universities in Norway there is still a lot to be done, as this recently published overview shows: http://www.forskerforum.no/wip4/-kjoennsbalanse-blant-professorene-er-mulig/d.epl?id=2343970.
At NMBU 21% of professors are women in 2015, and we are working hard to reach a more gender balanced university. This is about developing and keeping talent, and securing future competitiveness of universities.
A while back I was invited to share some thoughts about leadership and what’s holding women back in the «What I see project». I’ll repost it here today as a small Women’s day contribution:
– What’s holding women back?
Getting ahead is most often about taking opportunities when they appear, and about making people around you know that you are up for a challenge. Stand up for yourself and don’t accept being evaluated for your gender when what counts is your qualifications and achievements. Yes, both men and women still make the mistake of mixing gender with qualifications. Many women have experienced the glass ceiling, and we need to constantly watch out for the system holding women back. However, I think women quite often hold themselves back too – and for no good reason.
It seems that we hold ourselves back because of fear of one or several of the following: the fear of rejection; the fear of failure, of not being good enough or strong enough; the fear of compromising core values such as being a good mother.
What advice would I give? Don’t take yourself too seriously, keep your shoulders down and your mood up, don’t aim for perfection all the time. Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them without feeling like a failure. We need to practice saying ‘So what? It’s not that big of a deal,’ a bit more often. If you make a mistake or fail at something – so what, so do we all, and next time we won’t. I would really like us to be more fearless, and go for what we want without doubting ourselves. We should not be afraid to promote ourselves and our qualifications and achievements.
There is still a great need for female role models who show that women can get ahead, who take on great challenges and are great leaders. And what’s more, that great mothers can also be great leaders