From Female Role Models to Gender Equality
I was brought up in the belief that I could do anything I wanted. This was probably the most valuable gift my parents could give to me.
I didn’t grow up in a traditional household, but at the end of the day, my mother would still cook while my father was doing the books for the family business. Even though I saw them split the work, I knew that I didn’t want to be this way. Already as a child, I realized that I wanted my life to turn out differently.
When I was six years old, something else happened that made me feel empowered: A story I wrote was read on national radio. The story was about a cat and to be honest, it wasn’t a good story. But I thought to myself: If my story made it onto national radio, what else can I do?
The Dream Gap
I know that I was lucky to grow up with this strong belief. Girls and women all over the world are robbed of this belief. Society is showing them from a very early age that they are not as intelligent and valuable as boys and men. They see a doctor as a man, they see a policeman as a man, they see an astronaut as a man, they see a CEO as a man. Already at the age of five, it becomes clear to them that they don’t have the same options as boys. They cannot do or become anything they want.
This became very clear to me when at 16, I joined a sewing class and met a group of women who continuously complained about not having realized their dreams. Because of their husbands. Because of their children. Because, because.
I didn’t believe them. Instead, I got angry. Not at these women, but at society for accepting their excuses for not realizing their dreams. I knew that women could make their dreams come true. My own country had taught me this. Iceland is number one in gender equality – not because we’re so good at it, but because every other country is worse. Nonetheless, we democratically elected the first female president in the world. We have the singer Bjork, who became a world famous artist. In a country with only 350,000 inhabitants, it means something when someone gets to realize their dream. It means that anyone, you and me, can realize our dreams. Unfortunately, there are not enough of us who believe this.
We Need More Female Role Models
I believe role models is what we really need. The more female role models we have, the harder it will become for society to accept the excuses women come up with to justify why they didn’t follow through. When you have role models right in front of you who have a similar background to yours, your excuses for not following your dreams turn into dust.
Girls need to see what women are capable of doing. They need to see women become whatever they want to become. When they see it, they can imagine it. When they imagine it, they can make it come true.
That’s why my mission is to accelerate gender equality through female entrepreneurship. I’m helping women realizing their dreams through my business on a daily basis. But it’s not enough.
A Summit for Brilliant Women Doing Brilliant Things
To be true to my mission, I’m doing something bigger. I’m planning the Self-Made Summit, my own conference in Reykjavík, Iceland. It’s about brilliant women doing brilliant things and showing what they did to achieve it. It’s going to be a gathering of present and future role models, standing up together so girls can grow up believing that they can make their dreams come true.
I need you to step up with me. This is how you achieve gender equality.
Join me at Selfmade Summit 2020
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