As a feminist, I often ask myself how women can raise their voice in order to be heard publicly, to have a seat at the table of decisions. Whether it’s at home, among the politics or in the work environment, women have still difficulties to be taken seriously. But as you think of women in general, it’s almost a surprise when you realise that it’s applying to you as well. I always thought that as a western woman, growing up in a liberal environment, I would have no difficulties to raise up my voice. Of course my boss is a man and I’m surrounded by men with strong opinions on a daily basis. But it’s among friends that I realised there was still work to be done. It’s very subtle.
It struck me at a game on monday night, a pub quiz. A casual night out with four male friends. And then I realised that when my male co-players were suggesting an answer, the others were listening carefully. When I suggested an answer, maybe a bit too timidly, they did not really take into account. If one of them had the same idea and was saying the same thing as me, then my first answer was heard.
I sadly realised that I needed a male back-up to be heard. At the end of the game it was obvious that I had given earlier right answers. My friends apologised but it was now clear that it was more difficult for me to raise my voice, just because I was a woman. And don’t get me wrong, as I carefully observed, even if I showed an obvious lack of confidence in my answers, even when the other male players were not sure, at least they were heard.
I guess that it made us all being aware of that difference of treatment. My male friends will pay more attention of female voices in the future, hopefully, and I need to speak up and take a seat at the table of the decisions. It’s a tough battle, but it’s a battle worth fighting for.