New workshop in Erlangen-Nürnberg

How to achieve leadership beyond gender stereotypes

30.01.2015, 09.00 Uhr – 17.00 Uhr

The workshop aims to raise awareness about gender-related stereotypes that affect our daily lives at work. Although stereotyping is a process that we all employ in different spheres of life, gender stereotypes and self-stereotyping can discourage communication in the workplace and even limit the chances for women to reach leadership positions. In such contexts, women feel anxieties and are often led by mistaken beliefs about how a woman should behave.
At the end of this workshop, participants will be aware of the prejudices that hinder effective communication and personal development and will be able to circumvent them in order to improve their career. In addition, this workshop aims to offer women the tools to be a leader in original ways beyond gender-related expectations that hierarchies might have. Awareness is here a central tool for self-development.

After a theoretical introduction, we will work on actively deconstructing stereotypes through games and shared experiences. These activities will offer an alternative way of communicating showing that there are no such things as natural female and male ways of working. Particular attention will be given to the development of tactics such as networking and self-presentation aiming at empowering female leadership.

Thanks to Barraco Barner there are at least 7.000 self-proclaimed linguists in the world

Today every media in the world is talking about Gemma Worrall, the British woman who spelled Obama’s name wrong in a tweet: “if barraco barner is our president why is he getting involved with Russia, scary”. Her tweet got retweeted at least 7.000 times where people mostly treated her as stupid, dumb, ignorant, a shame for the United Kingdom for not having notions of politics, etc. Although the theme here could be: “who cares?”, it is worthy looking at the reasons why so many people have fun shaming her.

You might not be that clever even if you know how to spell Obama’s name

Well, I know loads of people who know how to spell Obama’s name but would never ask themselves what is happening in Russia, simply because 1) they are stuck with a very vague idea of what the cold war could have been: scary ; 2) Russia is too far and you don’t fly through to go to Phuket=no need for it; 3) and where is Russia anyways. At least Gemma Worrall shows some interest in world’s politics even if expressed in a totally non mainstream manner. Does somebody deserve to be despised because of lack of education/verbal articulation/categorization? No. Why does every paper highlight that she is a “beautician”, like being a beautician was an explanation to the whole story (woman=beautician=no brain)? Because female-dominated professions are always frowned upon.

Did you guys go to graduate school to learn how to humiliate others? Wasted money, you could have gone to work! Class-based discrimination is a shameful attitude, even worst when it goes together with other forms of oppressions (like sexism). So you Gemma-blamers might be really sexist (not a little).

Ever heard of cyberbullying?

All of a sudden the world is filled with linguists and political scientists who crazily tweet about Gemma Worrall for the sole sake of blaming her. 7.000 intimidating Twitter posts plus several newspaper articles from South Africa, Australia, Belgium and more reported the story. According to the Oxford Dictionary, cyberbullying is “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature”. Dear Wikipedia says: “cyberbullying is the use of Information Technology to harm or harass other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner”. In many of her responses Gemma seemed to be really shocked of the amplitude of the situation even though she tried to minimize this disproportioned media coverage. Ever thought that you are bullying a young woman impeding her to use the social media?

Message for Gemma’s angry commentators: we don’t need your harassing normative spelling culture, oh no!


Promoting women’s rights in your media campaign

by Sabina Rossignoli

Public institutions and organizations, research centers, charities and companies sensitive to diversity issues have sometimes the chance to have budgets for socially involved advertizing. They hire then PR agencies that will handle those budgets and buy appropriate media platforms. I have recently been exposed to the organization of a campaign promoting women’s awareness against violence. Budget was small, but still enough to have decent visibility. However, something went wrong and the client was not satisfied for reasons pertaining to the target group. To prevent problems, when you want to run a campaign on women’s rights make sure of the following:

You have a well defined target group… Women!

Target groups are the staple of any media and communication campaign. Before you buy a medium, make sure it matches your own target group. In a campaign on violence against women, the target group should be at least women. Women of any age, as violence affects women starting from childhood (average starting from 15 years old in Europe).

Do not target men, it might really be a wastage. It would be like targeting ice-cream brands for a campaign against sugar. Or targeting General Motors employees for a campaign promoting public transportation. Got the message? Statistically men “do not care” about violence on women; they are more often on the side of perpetrators. Of course, not all of them, but they may contribute to maintain a culture of indulgence towards violence on women. Instead, gender mainstreaming focuses on convincing women to report experiences of violence to the authorities (even if at this stage authorities are really behind in matters of protecting women, but that is another story). According to the last EU study Violence against women: an EU-wide survey*, “women who are victims of violence seldom report it to specialist services” (p. 14).

Although it is common belief that violence affects women from lower socioeconomic categories, this has been proved if not false at least approximate. There has certainly be a wider focus in the sociological literature on the overlap of gendered violence and social exclusion. However, violence on women – in its verbal, sexual, psychological and physical occurrences – affects women from all social backgrounds. According to the same study,

between 74% and 75% of women in a professional capacity or in top management jobs have experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime… Recognition needs to be given to the fact that professional women in management and other top positions are at risk of sexual harassment” (pp. 12-13).

It is capital to define which women you want to target: age, cultural background, religious background, profession, etc… A good awareness of these elements will allow for the perfect choice of the media to buy. Same as above: do not buy a page in a newspaper if you want to talk to a public of dentists. But you may buy a free newspaper with an extremely high circulation if you want to reach everywoman.

When you have your title, the good position might be where you don’t expect

Advertizing sometimes assaults the press, we know it by experience. And sometimes it can be really uncomfortable. For instance, when we see and ad of underwear next to an article on a cruel case of rape. Or an ad for a pizza chain in a special on poverty and hunger. On the one hand, these – lunatic – associations produce visible ethical issues. On the other hand, they hinder the brand’s image: that is why PR agencies go nuts about positions more than any other aspect of the campaign. The truth is, there is not always control on the issue. If you can control this, for a women’s campaign it is good to be in sections fashion/shopping, cooking, society, culture, rather than in sections close to finance and politics. The latter are 70% male dominated, hence the big wastage risk.

Inspiration for your awareness campaign: feminist politics

It sounds always very bad to mention politics, mostly when in the same sentence as feminist. And however, women-oriented advertizing should look at feminist politics for inspiration (it is too often the other way around). Feminist political activism has always been a special arena for social change for women. It has contributed to create spaces where to discuss women issues in protected contexts. It does advertizing to gather more women and to pass knowledge on to the next generations. And it works! Where do events aiming to sensitize the population to feminist issues gather? In shopping areas where everywoman walks and buys. In female-dominated moments of leisure, that is where you can get women. Not at the door of the Central Bank or at the door of the Parliament. Get out of your head the idea that shopping sections are lame for noble social causes. Violence affects everywoman and the latter lives in a gendered world – again, like it or not. Hence to do your promotion of women privilege a female-dominated media space, even when it looks superficial. Women have to fight against violence alone, hence any female media space will do.

*It is a shame that the EU report does not analyze the impact of race and class on violence against women in a systematic manner. But it has the merit of listing forms of violence and bringing the attention to women’s awareness. And the 8th March approaches, the International Women’s Day! You can download a length resume of the study here: Violence against women: an EU-wide survey.

Just for fun (reserved to job-seekers)

by Sabina Rossignoli

Every job interview process can be divided in two: 1. the conversation taking place if you are interested in the job (or really need it); 2. the conversation taking place if you are NOT interested in the job but just curious (or don’t absolutely need it). When you face a sexist recruiter it is most times a destabilizing and uncomfortable experience. Here some tips in order to find a compromise situation between the desperate job-seeker (alternatively the masochist type) and the kamikaze (who won’t find a job if doesn’t shut up). You can still get the job without playing the game.

When thinking about recruitment processes a woman can easily be scared of being asked about her private life. Every recruiter would like to know whether you are going to be pregnant in the next six months, and many bosses will not secure your job contract for fear that you might some time soon be planning a pregnancy. Hence, avoid to talk about yourself and your personal plans. It is not allowed to ask personal questions and there is usually a way to avoid them. For instance change the topic by asking a question on the position, but never blame the questioner. Be creative, you still want that job, right?

But what can also happen is when recruiters become verbally aggressive. They explain such techniques by defending their need to test the candidate’s strength. In fact, there is no reason for being aggressive. When a recruiter tells you that you look good, for instance, it is not a compliment. The best way to react is to ignore the comment also by avoiding any facial expression of discomfort. If you are brave and you think you can’t be assessed by a sexist asshole, than you can return the compliment: “You however don’t look very good”, or “You look better in real life than on your LinkedIn profile picture too”, or even “You have a nice little bottom, baby”. Although we don’t want to propagate revengeful behavior, the situation might be worth returning the joke. Mind: only do this if you are NOT interested in the job.

In order to shock a female candidate, a male recruiter (sorry, it is a gross gender cliche but we need to be concise here and that’s the gender dynamics in most cases anyways) can also use sexual vocabulary in order to describe work-related situations. For instance, he might say that a negotiation requires a rape (but only a symbolical one!), or might say that selling their product is like having sex with it, or similar bullshit. In case you notice sex-related vocabulary in your interview, and you want to have the job, just keep swallowing. Not showing any surprise will confuse your interlocutor who is attempting to destabilize you through sexual harassment. If you don’t need the job, you might even try to explain him that rape is not a metaphor. Or you might unfold the reasons why your sexual life stays out of your office and why this is healthier. You might propose him to follow a therapy, or a seminar against sexism in the workplace (we have some of them ready!). That will teach him that harassing a candidate will not improve his business, on the contrary it will destroy the candidates’ self-esteem and performance.

But always ask yourself the question: do I want to work in such business culture?


Written by Comments Off on Just for fun (reserved to job-seekers) Posted in opinion

Frauenanteil in Vorständen gesunken

Quelle: Die Zeit

Die Zahl der Managerinnen in den Vorständen der börsennotierten Konzerne ist 2013 gesunken. Nur sechs Prozent der Posten sind mit einer Frau besetzt, zeigt eine Studie.

Der Frauenanteil in den Vorständen der 30 Dax-Unternehmen ist im vergangenen Jahr zurückgegangen. Er fiel mit 6,3 Prozent um 1,5 Prozentpunkte geringer aus als im Vorjahr. Das geht aus dem aktuellen Managerinnen-Barometer des Deutschen Instituts für Wirtschaftsforschung (DIW) hervor, das am Mittwoch in Berlin vorgestellt wurde. Allerdings stieg der Frauenanteil in den etwas weniger entscheidenden Aufsichtsräten um 2,5 Prozent auf 21,9 Prozent

Happy new year!

We wish you all a wonderful 2014 full of mutual respect, equality, and adventures!

Pénalisation du client, mythe suédois et entrepreneur allemand

Par Sabina Rossignoli

Alors que le gouvernement Hollande fait passer la loi qui pénalise les clients des prostituées avec une massive opération de communication, le débat sur la prostitution en Europe gagne en actualité. En 2012, la Ministre Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (NVB) se rendait en Suède pour évaluer le succès du “modèle suédois” en matière d’égalité hommes-femmes. En 1999, la Suède fit passer le Sex Purchase Act pénalisant les clients de prostituées et le proxénétisme. Ainsi, NVB commentait pour le Nouvel Observateur (8/11/2012) :

Le plus notable est que les comportements ont évolué: la population suédoise deux ans avant la loi était à 70% opposée à la pénalisation du client et sitôt la loi adoptée, elle a évolué jusqu’à être 70% favorable à ce dispositif.

D’où viennent ces chiffres tant exaltés par la Ministre et les médias français aujourd’hui ? Le journal cite un vague “rapport du gouvernement”, sans plus. Le problème est que ce rapport fait lui-même partie de la machine promotionnelle d’un gouvernement suédois en manque de données  sérieuses prouvant le succès de sa politique anti-prostitution. Par conséquent, est-ce qu’on peut faire confiance aux médias mal informés et aux sources du gouvernement ?

Dans ce débat, la Suède incarnerait donc le Bien, ayant fait passer cette “loi féministe” qui depuis plus de dix ans a conquis l’admiration internationale. La loi pénalise par de lourdes amendes et par l’emprisonnement toute forme d’achat d’un rapport sexuel, ainsi que le proxénétisme. Dans plusieurs apparitions dans les médias français, la Suède est présentée comme championne d’égalité hommes-femmes et est inspiration indiscutable de la législation française en matière de prostitution. A l’autre bout de l’échelle (celui du bas), le modèle législatif allemand considéré comme le paradis des proxénètes par sa politique de libéralisation de la prostitution.

Le plus grand bordel de France est en Allemagne

Depuis 2002, l’Allemagne fait de la prostitution une attraction touristique internationale et un marché très lucratif. L’investisseur et propriétaire de maisons closes Jürgen Rudloff devrait ouvrir le plus grand bordel d’Europe d’ici peu : 6000 mètres carrés de surface exploitable par des “travailleuses du sexe heureuses  et épanouies” qui louent leurs chambres de façon indépendante. Cout de l’opération immobilière : 4,5 millions d’Euros. Ce n’est pas un hasard si le bordel ouvrira ses portes à Sarrebruck, ville allemande à la frontière avec la France : Jürgen Rudloff sait très bien que les maisons closes sont interdites en France. Et c’est précisément la clientèle frontalière qu’il espère attirer. Il est difficile pour le public français de comprendre l’étendue médiatique de Rudloff dans le panorama médiatique allemand, où la légalisation de la prostitution est constamment mise en cause – et à juste titre – par la presse. Il suffira ici de savoir que son travail d’entrepreneur a une politique de communication très subtile. Invité dans les émissions télévisées, Rudloff a un style impeccable et se présente toujours avec une travailleuse du sexe qui tient à exprimer son épanouissement professionnel, avec sur le fond les vidéos publicitaires satinées des entreprises Rudloff.

L’invérifiable mythe suédois

On l’a dit, la Suède a initié l’Europe à la pénalisation du client. D’autres pays comme l’Islande et la Norvège ont suivi dans les années 2000. A part la Ministre, plusieurs médias continuent d’affirmer qu’en Suède, la prostitution de rue a diminué de 50% (ou plus) en dix ans, alors qu’un tel résultat est du jamais-vu dans la littérature de la criminologie spécialisée. D’où vient donc cette donnée? De nulle part. Un article très sérieux publié par deux chercheuses suédoises nous met en garde. L’argument assez simple de cet article est qu’il est bien difficile de produire des statistiques fiables dans ce cas complexe. D’abord, il n’existe pas vraiment de données comparables remontant à la période précédant l’Act, vu que la législation a en quelque sorte créé un nouvel objet sociologique (qu’est-ce que la prostitution ? Qu’est-ce que la tarification ? Qui sont les personnes concernées ?). Il est donc approximatif d’établir une courbe descendante de manière scientifiquement crédible.  De surcroit, en regardant ce qu’on a, on peut voir que la prostitution de rue a d’abord diminué suite à la publication de la loi, pour ensuite augmenter de nouveau un peu plus tard.

Mais le problème ce n’est pas seulement la statistique. La question est également que les pratiques changent. Adaptation du marché au nouveau cadre de loi, mais également déclin de la prostitution de rue comme pratique au niveau international. Les nouvelles technologies ont impacté la prostitution et les trafics d’êtres humains de façon considérable, nous obligeant à accepter que la prostitution de rue soit juste une manifestation visible d’un phénomène multiforme et tentaculaire. Ainsi, les comportements n’auraient pas évolué de façon aussi transparente et positive,  car les autorités ne réussissent pas à contrôler le net comme elles s’attendaient. Au contraire, la loi a eu des effets indésirables dus à la stigmatisation du client et surtout de la prostituée. Mais d’abord, la pénalisation des clients a déplacé la prostitution dans d’autres lieux qui échappent aux regard des  autorités, où la prostituée devient plus vulnérable physiquement et psychologiquement : forcée à se cacher, elle a moins de pouvoir de négociation, est plus exposée aux violences et aux risques sanitaires. La pétition mise en ligne par un groupe de franç l’explique de facon extensive : Parlementaires : Prostitution : les spécialistes des recherches sur le genre et sur la santé contre la pénalisation des clients.

Ainsi, pendant que les clients frontaliers trouveront bientôt en Allemagne – et si près de chez nous – l’énième destination rêvée pour leurs activités touristico-sexuelles, les résultats positifs de la loi française risquent de se faire attendre longtemps. D’abord, il faudrait regarder le modèle suédois de plus près. Peut-être en accordant plus d’attention aux sources critiques et documentées, qui ont vraiment à cœur la santé des prostituées et l’abolition inévitable de l’exploitation inhérente à la prostitution: l’abolition de la prostitution tout court.Et en évitant les visions manichéennes tranchant entre le bien et le mal. La loi devrait se faire au-delà de tout moralisme et idéologie, et surtout au-delà de tout coup de pub et stratégie de communication douteuse. L’article écrit par Susanne Dodillet et Petra Östergren l’argumente très bien, disponible en ligne et en accès gratuit ici : The Swedish Sex Purchase Act: Claimed Success and Documented Effects.