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The library of essays of Proakatemia

It’s not that deep – reflection essay



Kirjoittanut: Samu Nyqvist - tiimistä SYNTRE.

Esseen tyyppi: Yksilöessee / 2 esseepistettä.
Esseen arvioitu lukuaika on 3 minuuttia.

I read Thais Santos Araujo’s essay on the issue of women’s invisibility in discussions and meetings. I appreciate the courage and honesty in addressing this critical issue. The essay brings attention to the gender speaking gap and the power dynamics that often prevent women from participating fully in discussions and decision-making processes. The essay highlights how even in a progressive society like Finland, the problem persists and women’s voices often go unheard.

Thais’ essay effectively communicates the frustration and disappointment that many women feel when their perspectives and experiences are dismissed or ignored in discussions. She highlights the importance of creating a safe and inclusive space where everyone’s voices are heard and respected, regardless of gender. To emphasize this, she shares her own experience of a workshop where women were not given equal opportunities to speak and were dismissed when they raised their concerns. She brings up the irony of discussing psychological safety while dismissing the concerns of women and perpetuating gender stereotypes.

In her essay, I think that Thais makes a compelling argument that men have a responsibility to educate themselves on gender issues and stand up for equality. Her essay encourages open and respectful discussions on the topic and invites men to share their experiences and perspectives. I believe this approach is vital in fostering understanding and breaking down the barriers that often prevent men from recognizing and addressing the gender speaking gap.

Hence, I see it correct that I, as a man, provide my own point of view to this conversation. Having attended the same workshop she’s writing about, I believe my side of the story carries weight relevant to the topic at hand. I am also in dire need of essay points, which gives me extra motivation to contribute.

Even though I was there in the workshop, I did not notice the same dismissal that Thais is talking about.  It didn’t seem like anyone was discriminated against, the women in the room were not given equal opportunities to speak or they were dismissed when they raised their concerns. In fact, no one in the room (except the one person bringing it up) was paying any attention to the gender balance of the room.

Edmondson’s formal definition of psychological safety hinges on the expectation and belief within a team that it is safe to take interpersonal risks. But what does that look like? If in a team – or in this case a dialogue circle – someone points out a “fact” about how men overrule women in the discussion, it brings a negative notion to those that are genuinely in the dialogue for the sake of the dialogue.

As a man, after the comment, I did not feel that confident in taking part in the discussion anymore and felt humiliated to speak up. Ironic as it may be, by confronting a different gender in the name of psychological safety, you create an insecure atmosphere where one of the genders doesn’t feel like they can speak out. “Psychological safety comes from a belief that you will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up.” – Amy Edmondson

The amount people in the workshop who spoke out was not rationed by gender but purely by activity and interest in the topic. I believe I can speak on behalf of all men in that paja that we were not motivated to speak out on the topic because we were men – we were motivated to speak out because we each had something relevant to say to the topic as individuals, not because we wanted to drown out someone’s voices. As they say in data science, correlation does not imply causation.

In conclusion, Thais’ essay is a thought-provoking and timely reminder of the importance of gender equality and the need for men to be allies with women in the fight for gender parity. I believe, however, that it’s very important for us to focus the fight on actual battles for equality and not tire each other out in the name of a mere coincidence. I agree with Thais in that I think that it’s probably impossible for men to understand the struggles of the female gender. As she suggests in her text, reading the book “Invisible Women” would be a great way for men to start educating themselves and gather a deeper understanding of it all. I will make sure to read that book, as challenged.

 

Sources:

Thais Santos Araujo. 2022. Are we invisible women?. Proakatemian esseepankki. Read on 29.3.2023. Are we invisible women? – Proakatemian esseepankki

Edmondson, A. 2022. Creating a fearless organization. Nordic Business Forum 2022.

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