I am a woman in search of meaning

These Easter holidays have been very special for me for many reasons. The truth is that I needed to rest and take a lot of strength and energy after a tough semester and, above all, after some weeks loaded with so much work (more than I expected), unexpected emotions (those that I personally don’t like) and exciting and irresistible projects, such as EIPTE or the organization of the VIII University Day of the Innovation and Quality. All this, together with the day to day, have made the beginning of the year harder than I thought, so, this time has been good for me to relax, think, re-think and make decisions.

I have to confess that, among other events, there was one of international nature held in Bilbao that I was invited to some weeks ago and which made me think. I’m talking about Reflect & React: Discrimination of Women at Work day that took place on the 23rd of March at the Engineering School of Bilbao of the University of the Basque Country, organized by the Bilbao headquarters of the AEGEE (Association des États Généraux des Étudiants de l’Europe) and the Working Group of Equal Rights of the AEGEE-Europe.

The AEGEE is the biggest interdisciplinary association of students in Europe, of voluntary nature and non-profit. It has more than 15.000 members in 42 countries across Europe, spread over the 230 university cities where AEGEE has a headquarters.

Besides, it has the support of the European Commission and a consultative status at the European Council and the United Nations. It’s a member of the European Youth Forum and has cooperated with UNESCO in international projects.

I received the invitation with pleasure and, at the same time, as a challenge. I was grateful for being contacted and for having Miren Lauzirika, of  EmakumeEkin, as my partner on stage. She gave me security and tranquility. The fact is that Quique and Viola, two of the organizers of the event, confirmed that our double task-challenge was the following:

  • To tell what being a woman in the labour market means- through our professional experience as successful women (what a compliment!)- and to show the participants that women also can participate in a wide variety of professions and take the plunge on our professional careers. That was the task.

  • To inspire the audience and to stimulate a debate about the obstacles, but also the possibilities women have when developing our own professional career. This was the big challenge.

In summary, an interactive session with 40 to 50 international students coming from different countries who were interested in this topic. Tell us young people don’t care.

Preparing this session was, by itself, a challenge for me, because, in addition to thinking about myself, how I am and how I have been, how I could define myself and what are my weak and strong points, I had to look at my almost 25 years of experience in the labour market and, therefore, at:

  • My beginnings at the University of Deusto
  • My journey through the academic world
  • My many illusions placed in my career as a teacher
  • Some disappointment and frustrated work
  • The great people with whom I’ve met
  • The friends I’ve made along the way
  • The projects in which I’ve been able to take part
  • The great colleagues which I can count on
  • The toxic people with whom I’ve met
  • The experienced envies and thanks to which I have learned
  • The hard and difficult moments
  • The very good moments
  • What work means
  • What working without expecting anything in return means (It is well worth thinking and acting like that)
  • What it means to me that other people take your recognitions
  • The many satisfactions received
  • Unexpected acknowledgments
  • Unjust dislikes
  • The work well done and the work that remains to be done
  • The time given and, sometimes, badly invested and even wasted 
  • The projects in which investing is worth it

Reflect and react has helped me to realize that I still have a loooooot to do, that I have to keep believing in myself as an entrepreneur person and teacher, that I have to support every E.P. that I can, oh, and to start saying NO, that perfection isn’t the best path to follow and that the time we have is the same for everyone ( however you look at it).

Here you have the results’ booklet Viola sent you me.

Have a good week.

Translated by María Ubierna Quintanilla and supervised by Arantza Arruti.

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