When I started my first job I had never really thought about gender equality. I grew up in an environment where equality was a given, so when I started working I thought, I’ll do my job, do the best I can and things will be great.
However, I soon saw that this is different for men. The company started hiring more men, who worked at my level or lower, and who were demanding more – more money, more bonuses, more attention, more of everything really.
And they got it.
This created a more competitive atmosphere within the company. It became more about “me” and less about “us”, and the team spirit that had existed became increasingly dominated by individual male ambitions.
This is why I chose to go it alone. In my own company, there is no inequality. We don’t make a distinction between men and women, only between better and best – making the most of everyone’s talents.
Later, during my travels around the world, when I went in search of people with a vision and brands with a purpose, it became increasingly clear to me that too many women continue to accept the status quo which exists all over the world. Of all the people we spoke to over the years, the percentage of women is extremely low, and most of them were business owners. There are far fewer women than men in high positions at the large brands.
This is why we decided to dedicate this new edition to CoolBrands Women. We set off on a global quest in search of women who are taking the lead, who are inspiring other women and opening up new paths for the young generation to step up to leadership positions. And we found many. Some of them are featured in this edition, but this is just the start.
By talking to them about their leadership style and how they take on the challenges they face, it became increasingly clear that things are changing.
The past decades (even centuries!) have been dominated by male leadership, which has undeniably brought us many good things. But it’s time for change. The world needs a new vision in which caring, inclusiveness and empathy are at the core of doing business, a world in which people are encouraged to take and share responsibility for their actions.
It was during my conversations with these CoolBrands Women that I clearly saw what my own purpose is:
I see it as my responsibility to help women craft their story. I can help them find their uniqueness, their strengths. I write their stories and make this uniqueness stand out so that they can share their story and celebrate their differences.
I am ready!
Anouk Pappers is Brand Anthropologist and co-founder CoolBrands & CoolBrands People
Tags: CoolBrands Women, Anouk Pappers, Anouk, Pappers, #CoolBrandsWomen, #CoolBrands, CoolBrands, #ATW80B, ATW80B, Around the World in 80 Brands