Creating a career as a young Woman today
Navigating a career can be challenging as it is - especially when you're just starting out. The path to success can be a tricky and navigating one - one that can feel so far away. But everyone has to start somewhere, and when we do, we’re often young.
Unfortunately for us, age is often trigger for societal stereotypes and, as a young professional and millennial, has often become an obstacle in earning respect from within the industry - not only for me. It's not a secret that young professionals struggle to get taken seriously, and I know too well what I'm talking about - I've been denied projects; I've struggled getting funding for events; I've been stared at by older workers. I have been asked who my business partner is, as if I couldn't do it on my own. I've been there. And oh-so-often have I heard that I'm 'so young' - almost like you're not seen as someone in a real position of power, let alone to run your own business and delegate a team. After all, I started turning things around, considering my age my usp instead of an obstacle - exactly that one thing that makes me different from any of my fellows. If I was to let people define me by my age, why wouldn't I use it as an advantage?
After all, a Woman's career is a topic that comes up in the media over and over again. The 'millennial female entrepreneur' - the one that's 'disrupting industries'. Why it's still so special to be a 'female entrepreneur' is still a riddle to me. You would think the bit outdated glass ceiling between genders to be long gone when in fact, it still seems to exists. And with expressions like 'Girlboss' or 'female entrepreneur' having been glamourised the past few years, written all over coffee mugs, t-shirts, and the social media sphere, we're not really helping ourselves. Everyone seems to be a 'Girlboss' these days, and to the outside world it is quite clear who she is - A strong, independent woman in charge of her own destiny. At least, that’s what it’s supposed to mean. But aren't we truly beyond needing the word “girl” in front of the word “boss? I for my part genuinely dislike the term - and have never referred myself as one. Why are people still making career terms masculine? How is it different for men than it is for women? Can't I just be a boss? By having to describe myself as a girl, who is a boss, I don't feel empowered - or feel like it's empowering any other Women at all. It doesn't really tear down the sexism encoded in language - instead, it's feeding into that exact misogynist view we’re trying to overturn, isn't it? For all its good intentions, 'Girlboss' is a perfect example of which language is used to manipulate and restrict women - in the guise of empowerment. If you ask me, I am saying we are equals, and should be treated as such. We don't need to set ourselves apart to be powerful.
Dear strong, intelligent, and independent twenty-something Woman, don't let anyone tell you you don't have what it takes to make it to the top. Don’t let your youth or your gender get in your way of your success. Have your voice heard - just go for it.