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For All My Ladies

Teresa Truda is a female powerhouse and a real embodiment of the term ‘self-starter’. From a life in digital production (that we at Agency Iceberg were instrumental in), to starting her own eCommerce business to co-founding an investor backed app called Chozun in China, Teresa knows what it means to create, succeed and face adversity in, in the face of business. When it comes to opinions about women in tech, hers is worth listening to:

There’s been so much talk in the last year or two about women in tech, being female founders, women as leaders, discrimination as a female entrepreneur. But there is still one thing which hasn’t quite been addressed in all of this. And that is the unfortunate way in which women can sometimes perpetuate the problem.

I mean, it was just this year Barbara Corcoran (who I once admired) gave female entrepreneurs advice to “yank up your skirts” to stand out.

Brace yourself for this ride, women. Strap yourself in. And listen.

About a month ago, I went to a Women’s Entrepreneurial Networking event. For women, who wanted to learn about being board members. Being better entrepreneurs.

I walk into the room (late of course), but am greeted with smiles, a room of energy. Female energy. Friendly faces, warmth, intelligence, radiating vibes.

In front of me, sit a panel of high profile, well recognised women in the start up eco system — from China, and America.

The conversation begins with how to become a board member, the responsibilities then organically flows into discussing the highs, the lows of start up life. But soon, it steers. Steers into a conversation heavily focussed on the female gender, generally. About women in the workforce. Women, being invested in as entrepreneurs. Women, being mothers and working.

One of the more traditional Chinese “influential” women on the panel, starts throwing comments like “As a VC, if your start up has only female Co-Founders, we put a cross through it without meeting you. How can you possibly have time to raise a family and dedicate the time needed to your startup?” This is a VC. A female, VC.

Another, more Western highly respected female on the panel responds to a question in the audience (one which was valid) about overcoming being female only Founders, and how to be credible amongst a male dominated VC industry. To which, the lady responds along the lines of, “Get a male Co-Founder on your team to be the trojan horse”. So that’s the solution, right? Find a male. Cool.

As the conversation continued along these lines; being a woman, and working, being a woman and standing out, I couldn’t help but grind my teeth, clench the sides of my chair, and feel my face burn up with rage.

All I could think to myself, was, there’s a room full of such highly electrifying, energetic, intelligent women; successful and smart, yet this is what we are all getting together to talk about.

Women, listen here. We want equality, in fact, it should be a given. We shouldn’t have to be discriminated as being females and actually, if you don’t let it, you won’t be. But by us asking questions that pigeon hole us as a gender and responding just as these women have, we are perpetuating gender inequality. Perpetuating society to treat us, as different. Incapable. As the bearer of children and nothing else. Subservient to the male, and none other.

So, quite frankly soul sisters, stop it. Stop putting that out there. And carry on as the fierce leader you are, as a talented worker, as the passionate mother, the courageous daughter, loving sister, kind best friend, as an equal. As a smart female. As any other human on this earth regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual preference. Be strong. Be confident. Be intelligent. Be proud.

Looking back, I wish at the time I had challenged the conversation more. I guess I didn’t have at the confidence. It took me two months to get the courage to write this.

But promise me something, promise yourself something; don’t stand to be called bitches, don’t be patronised, don’t perpetuate, don’t be bitter. Be strong, great mothers, wives, partners, leaders, workers, curious souls. Have healthy conversations and project equal living, working, being. Join 2016.

The full article by Teresa can found here on Medium.