Before you go on, you must know this is my very first entry on the website; actually, it is the very first entry I write in my whole life; therefore, I want you to understand the roots of this project.
Five years ago, I decided to study Financial Management in a well-known University in Mexico City. Since then, I started to realize all the gaps the financial system has in terms of inclusion and education; mainly with people of less resources; hence, during my first year, I tried to raise awareness about the importance of financial education. I had a radio program on College and gave finance classes to teenagers on public schools. Everything was sailing on until I wanted to get into the financial sector.
There were around 40 students on my generation, but only 6 women. The six of us became very close because all the guys had already their “gangs”. We were really good; however, when talking about financial markets, we seemed to be a bit lagged, but why? We had outstanding grades, but we were not involved in the markets as much as men… was it because of our priorities? interests during the first semesters? convictions? Actually, the right answer is Society. Let me explain you.
When you study finance, there are 3 main paths you can take: corporate, public and investment finance. Of course, most of the students dream about a Wall St. life and choose the investment one; but somehow, society believes that financier women are made for corporate finance. I mean, it is also a really good choice, but we have the very same capabilities as men to perform in any area we want to. The worst part: people don’t seem to notice they have this behaviour. I remember that most of my teachers tended to talk about financial markets with my male colleagues since we were freshmen, while talking with me or any other woman of my generation about business trends, enterprises, etc. (I’m not blaming the teachers about this difference at all; however, those conversations developed an early interest on men that, later became a threat for me and my female friends).
During almost my whole career, I thought I was supposed to work in Coca-Cola until I had a real approach to investment finance. It was amazing, pure love, yet it was also frustrating. It felt like my male friends were light-years ahead of me. If I truly wanted to find a place in this sector, I had to reach them; therefore, I started educating myself: learning, reading, studying everything I could to become as good as them. When I thought I was ready enough, I dare to apply to an internship in a very important investment banking firm. I didn’t get the job, and I thought it was because I didn’t have the what they were looking for. I was quite comfortable with that answer until I heard it was because they were looking just for men. It was the very first time my bubble of “equality” blew away. Of course I had heard about all these feminist out there, but sincerely, I never thought I would live a situation like that.
That night, I went home very upset because of the inconvenience (if you can call it that way) and decided to open Facebook to distract myself a bit. The first post I saw:
Fearless Girl statue faces Wall Street bull
A statue of a young girl with a determined expression has been installed in front of the famous charging bull in New York’s financial district. (BBC, 2017)
OMG! A young girl fighting the patriarchy was determined to encourage women, mainly young women, to take the lead and do something. The statue was there not just for the tourists to take cute Instagram Pictures, but to show the world that even a young girl has the power to defeat an old bull. That night I looked for a role model, an inspiration, someone who I could compare myself with to follow her steps. I didn’t find anyone; I found many successful women working in Wall St. indeed, but I couldn’t compare myself with any of them. I admire them, I swear do, they are amazing, but our backgrounds are a bit different, so they are just not the spark of light I was searching for.
I thought that perhaps my dreams were a bit ambitious and not realistic until I went to a finance competition in the US. There, I realized two things:
- Women are underrated
- My dreams do are ambitious and unrealistic
Although my dreams seem unachievable, they are not impossible, and that maybe, the lack of a role model just means I have to be my own inspiration. Since that day (April 2017) I decided to be my own role model, to become the little girl defeating the bull… I decided to be fearless!
I would love to say that since that day I haven’t live any other injustice or prejudice, but I cannot. Pitifully, I still have and still will until we, as women, have the weapons to stand together against the patriarchy. And by weapons, I mean knowledge, education, network… all the things that make the patriarchy so powerful, because after all, the aim is not to vanish men from the world, nor to promote diversity by just giving women all the opportunities for just the gender, but to show them that if we all work together as equals, we become more powerful.
Dear reader, I chose to create this project for you to relate yourself with. I’m just somebody that will share her knowledge (that is not so big though), and experiences to encourage you to stay in the path. And, if you, my dear reader, feel the need to share your story, dare to do it! Write it and share it, because maybe, it is the catalyst we need to change history.