WomenUp: Brave to Change
Question to women: When last time you did something really brave? Not many of us would reply immediately except female police officers. What does it mean to be brave? Do something that requires using power or acting unconsciously and taking a risk.
Few years ago at Hackquarters, we’ve started WomenUp event to empower women founders and ecosystem players bringing them together and encourage networking. Our aim was to do something remarkable; and most probably, it would go with its own remarkable way until I’ve come across Reshma Saujani’s TedX talk Tech girls bravery, not perfection. That’s what changed the perspective.
You might think it’s just a culture issue where women are afraid to ask questions; afraid to raise their hand only because they don’t want to be the only one who doesn’t understand. Is it fear? A fear of crushing the image of perfection. Most of us are raised to be perfect, being just good is not enough. We’ve been taught to follow the rules, to be the best in class, to be successful in the team. But does it really work to be perfect and still achieve and create?
Who are the people we admire? Who are those successful heroes we quote and reshare on social media? In the startup ecosystem, no one takes you really seriously until you fail, at least 2 startups. They are our heroes. Do you think they are perfect; look or act perfect? Or doing business in a perfect way? To me, only people who work make mistakes. Because the process of creation is imperfect, is a hypothesis, is testing. They are brave enough to make mistakes. And it’s not about self-confidence in its pure meaning; but about not being afraid to be brave enough to take a risk.
Maybe this is the reason, that only 5% of women own startups; while the number of women co-founders is around 20% worldwide. It’s a boys club you would say. Most of the girls don’t even consider technology as women's stuff; this sector totally belongs to men. Maybe, but definitely not because of the more confidence. Men are just less cautious. Less hung up with perfection.
If you are not accepted to the club, then create your own club. Maybe it’s a time to create a women’s club, sisterhood where we can find a guidance and still be who we are. According to the Trust Radius Women In Tech Report, 48% of women said the reason they are underrepresented in technology is due to a lack of mentors; 42% said the lack of female role models in the field hindered their equal representation in the workplace.
So, this is how idea started. How about the platform where women professionals can come together for networking and personal growth; learn and test new things; and still not afraid to be vulnerable. Mission of #WomenUp can first seem quite ambitious; however, please look at it as a process. #WomenUp is designed as a series of quarterly events aiming to shifting women’s mindset and behavior inspiring them to dare new things they have never done before. At the same time, it is connecting women with other inspirational women professionals and mentors for more opportunities.
We have 3 keystones while doing all this;
1st step- Connect: creating community inspiring #givefirst approach of sharing knowledge and opportunities
2nd step- Inspire: changing mindset switching for more brave and new things using tech
3rd step- Act: testing new things like angel investing, crypto, NFT, asset management, etc.
I was so happy to receive such a positive comments and recommendations from the participants; and so many women wanted to join after they saw our posts of the March event. Please let me know if you want to be a part of the community; the next meetup will be in May 2022.