This article is written by Ezequiel Djeredjian, a male member of the Athena team. Ezequiel and Athena are doing great work to solve the gender imbalance in business, through programming empowering women to grow themselves, and their dreams of entrepreneurship. Their work is a beautiful reflection of Innerpreneurship, and the collective value it creates. Similarly, I am becoming increasingly more aware of our gender imbalance, and my need to seek solutions. Sharing Ezequiel’s perspective with you is a step in this direction, a symbol of my growing dedication to solving this problem — together, we’re adding to the solution by becoming (more) aware of the problem.
“Are we sure that I am not going into the lion’s den? Do you think it’s okay for me to talk about gender imbalance openly?”
It was April and I was working on our communication and media strategy with Adèle, and was starting to get nervous about how I should start to reach out to people about our entrepreneurship boot camp for women. You know, being a man and all…
“I guess I can focus on the entrepreneurship and technology side of the program. That way we can avoid any possible negative reaction.”
What approach should I take when I talk to organizations and women involved in this cause? Why me, a member of “the other side”, was working for it? How could I justify the fact that our team is mostly male if somebody inquired?
Over the last couple of months I’ve been reading a lot about gender imbalance, lack of women in technology and entrepreneurship, and sex inequality. The truth is that, as a man helping to build our Athena program, I was a little bit afraid, not to say terrified. And the more I read, the more confused I was and the more doubts I had.
I just felt out of place. I could see all of the messages accusing me or Exosphere of personal interests, trying to hop on a wave for marketing purposes, looking to put myself into a role that did not correspond to me or a place where I was not wanted.
Nonetheless, I was confident in the reasons why we are doing it. And if I had to receive some of these accusations, just to try to reach people interested in our work, I was willing to do so…
It’s been more than 2 months since we started communicating Athena to journalists, bloggers, organizations and other influencers. Up to the moment I probably contacted over 150 of them.
If you are someone that has tried to launch a service or program and was looking to get any traction and coverage you know how hard it is to get responses. Most of the mails I sent were probably ignored, but others were answered.
And guess what… There were no accusations. No hate mail responses. All of the answers I got were very positive. Congratulating us on attempting to do something like what we are doing, offering their help, ways to collaborate, or to be involved in any way, even if it was just a retweet.
I felt happy.
If there is one thing that working on this program and on its communication has showed me, it is that this problem is not only a female problem. And when we attempt to make a real change it should be all sides working together to do so. In any possible way they can.
I know there will still be people not happy with what we are doing, that will say this is not our place and we should not be an obstacle to their fight. We will let them be.
We are not trying to get ourselves to the forefront nor try to lead the way. We just want to offer a place where more women can get together to explore new and different possibilities, and find a place to inspire themselves and get the necessary self-confidence to take that important first step.
We hope we are on the right track.
Ezequiel Djeredjian originally published this article on Athena’s Medium page.