Gender does not matter, I was told at home. We all, me, my three sisters and two brothers, were encouraged to work hard from very young age and to go for our dreams.
Have to say it was not always fun. My siblings and I had to start working during summers at a paper factory when we turned 13. We had to cycle to work, 16 kilometers there and back, no matter if it was raining or shining. It was tough, of course, but I also have lots of crazy stories to share from those times.
I have never thought some doors would be closed from me only because I'm a woman. But I know this is not the whole truth.
I am grateful that I got raised like this. It taught me that though life is not always easy, we should never give up. Anything is possible if we just work hard enough for it. I have never thought some doors would be closed from me only because I’m a woman.
But I know this is not the whole truth. Recently I finished reading Kim Scott’s book Radical Candor. Scott is known for being a great leader in many big companies like Google, Twitter and Apple. I did not realize until in the very end of the book that it is written by a woman.
I could not remember when was the last time I read a business book written by a woman. I stood up from our living room couch and walked to my office room trying to find a business book by a woman author in my bookshelf. I could not find any! Why? There must be many but I don’t happen to own any.
It can't be that "the best leaders" are always men.
This made me think: Why most of business books are written by men? It can’t be that men know these things better. We should not only think about books but also working life: It can’t be that ”the best leaders” are always men. I think the saying about the best people ending up in the best jobs and positions is not the full truth. There is still inequality in working life.
That is why women in business life should support, not criticize, each other. We should be proud of our sisters’ achievements. I truly believe all women leaders have worked hard for their position and they really earn their place.
Women in business life should support each other – and men in power should stand for equality.
It is also important that men in power stand for equality. One of my favorite books is Leadership (Johtajuus) by Matti Alahuhta, the former CEO of Kone Corporation. In his book he emphasizes that in every company it is important to focus on diversion. By this he means not only gender, but also the background, knowledge and vision of an individual. It is old-fashioned to think that equality and diversity is only about gender. We need different kinds of managers and leaders.
I have two daughters and I want to raise them in the same way I got raised. I want them to know that they can achieve their dreams if they really work for it.
We are all the same – and we all should have the same chances to do what inspires us.
I hope that when my girls grow up, the world is more equal. Our society should be a place where everything is possible to everyone, no matter whether you are young or old, black or white, a woman or a man. We are all the same and we should stand on the same starting line.
Maybe my daughters will write business books and make my bookshelf look better, who knows! But if they don’t want to write books, that is ok too. The most important thing is that they have all the chances to do what inspires them.
Sirkku Jauhiainen is the Sales & Marketing Director of Viking Theories. She has almost 10 years of experience in sales, customer retention and marketing. She is a fiery freetime-boxer and widely known as the Master of Mushroom Hunting.
Photo by Joanna Nix on Unsplash