My name is Anastasia Deeva, and I want to talk about those women who inspire me day after day and whose names everyone should know. Their examples allow us to better know ourselves. To understand that we set the bar of our capabilities for ourselves, that we have the strength to cope even with the most terrible and disgusting situations. Sometimes you just need an example for inspiration, you need the first step.
In the 1980s, Barbara Ennis, a native of Denmark, moved to live in San Francisco and began her career in the sales department of Sony Corporation. She became the first woman to receive the "Best Seller of the Year" award 14 times in a row. But Sony’s corporate culture was so masculine that they even changed the title to “Woman Seller of the Year” and handed her a huge square men's watch, and then sent it to the training “Gorilla Defensive Tactics for Women in Business”. Barbara decided to act differently and prove that the corporation should not turn her into a prototype of a man. On the contrary, she will win if she realizes that women are able to look at the situation from a different angle, it is better to communicate, participate in negotiations and decision-making, achieve results without waiting for someone’s permission.
Barbara Ennis often gives a funny example in her trainings, which shows how the work of the female and male brain differs: "A woman’s brain, unlike a man’s brain, never rests, a woman constantly controls the situation." For many centuries, mothers were responsible for children who easily fell into extremely dangerous situations, because they could never afford to relax. That is why, when a man sits quietly, as if a computer is freezing, a woman will surely ask: "Honey, what are you thinking about?" Funny but true. Our brain is constantly in an active state. We are able to solve any problems and make sure that everyone around us is well.
In the 90s, Barbara created the large Gender Intelligence Group (GIG) agency, which provides consulting services for corporations and large business players, allowing them to become more inclusive, implement talent recognition systems and form work teams.
"The last and deepest stage of our path to gender equality is that women and men accept each other's authenticity and strive to work and succeed together, not as equal in number, but as equal in value," these words of Barbara Ennis vividly describe the essence of female leadership. When a woman offers a solution and sheds light on a problem that no one has noticed before.
Why is female leadership so inspiring to me? The Harvard definition of leadership is the ability to motivate, guide and develop a team’s potential for a socially responsible mission. In simple words, a person’s ability to lead and achieve a public good. Leadership is the art of unleashing the potential of a person, taking a confident step towards solving problems, forming new leaders, not followers.
Of course, it can manifest itself in different ways and in different circumstances. When we talk about women's rights and feminism, we immediately represent countries such as Canada or Sweden, and ask: what is the problem? What rights does a woman lack?
And here I propose to recall that in different parts of the world so far (on the street in 2019) more than 130 million girls do not have access to education, in many African and Arab countries they marry them as children, girls all over the world still being raped and sold into sexual slavery, and some are subjected to female circumcision, because, according to "their opinion," a woman should not have fun, but should serve a man. And no, this is not the new season of The Handmaid's Tale. These are real people, real cities and countries that do not seek to respect the fact that we are all different and this is the beauty of our world, this is our essence and freedom. Even in the darkest corners of the earth, female leadership sounds first with the voice of one woman, then several, and then the whole country joins them.
There is another type of leadership. Probably the most important. This is your own example. Every day you can be a leader for your children, relatives, friends, for your followers. When you do or say something truly correct and useful, people will be drawn to you. And a small step can lead to big changes! Of course, not all of us have 137 million Instagram followers, like Kim Kardashian. But even if you decide to refuse plastic bags and publish a post in which you will tell how simple it is and what steps you need to take to make more informed purchases, your friends and acquaintances will hear you. By the way, Kim should have done that. Imagine how many people google how to abandon plastic, and read about the terrible climate changes that await us all in the future, if we do nothing. This will give a serious boost to awareness. So let these changes begin with your life, and the examples of women who go their way in different corners of the earth, fill you with inspiration and faith in their own strengths.
Yongmi Pak is a North Korean civic activist who openly talks about the terrible dictatorship of the communist regime of Kim Jong-un.
The first time I heard Yonmi's voice was when she spoke at the One Young World conference. A beautiful young Korean woman, just a year younger than me, with tears in her eyes said: "It’s not I telling you my story, but thousands of people who want but cannot tell."
I decided to listen to her performance at first and could not restrain my tears.
North Korea is the place where they are still building a "bright communist future", there is only one TV channel for round-the-clock propaganda, there is no Internet, people are forbidden to watch movies, listen to music and even joke. Many live without electricity, but with full confidence that the leader can read their minds. As a child, Yonmi's mother told her that one should not pronounce words even in a whisper, because they can be heard by mice and birds from the forest nearby and tell the leader everything. All this seems to be an Orwellian dystopia and an excerpt from the book "1984", but, unfortunately, more than 25 million people still live in such a reality.
After the father was arrested for trading on the black market, their family was isolated from society: Yongmi could no longer go to school, her mother was left without work. To survive, they ate grasshoppers and other insects, as well as flowers and plants that grew in a field near the house.
In 2007, Yonmi and her mother decided to flee the country. With incredible hardships and hardships, they made their way to the border with China, where traffickers were waiting for them. Illegal migrants who flee from North Korea are completely unprotected and fall into labor and sexual slavery, crossing the border with China.
Yongmi was 13 years old when a merchant tried to rape her. The mother suggested that he should not touch the girl. And he raped a woman in front of her daughter. Then her mother was sold for $ 50, and Yongmi for $ 250. The merchant who bought Yongmi offered a deal: if she agreed to become his mistress, he would buy her mother and bring her father back from North Korea. Yonmi sacrificed herself.
After two years in China, Yongmi and her mother were released, and they decided to cross the Gobi Desert to get to Mongolia. There they were first free.
Yongmi now lives in the States and is engaged in advocacy. She graduated from Columbia University, got married and gave birth to a son. She travels a lot around the world and tells her story. After all, this is the story of millions of people who remained in captivity of the totalitarian regime and are not able to tell the world about themselves.
See also: “Weinstein Effect”: How one deceitful producer changed the whole of Hollywood