The depiction is so much a part of our world that one can barely separate herself from it. And even those amongst us who would include “strong woman” in our own bio find shame in the things realized about ourselves as a result of the exercise. We reflect, we think out loud, we listen.
The women of Braintree sat down a couple of weeks ago to watch Miss Representation, a documentary written, directed, and produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom. The miserable way women can be depicted in the media is something we all just live with, sadly. But several strong smart women get together in a room and watch the facts, end-to-end, it’s hard not to get a fire started inside.
The scene: A Thursday night. Braintree's Chicago Office. After work.
We meet in the BORED room. We debate on the actual name of the room. Is it BOARD or BORED? We may never know.
We eat some falafel, we pour some wine. We watch the documentary.
I’ll confess. I sat and watched in silence for most of it. But, there was one part where I just HAD to say something out loud. It was during the part of the film where they talked about Geraldine Ferraro being introduced on the national stage as “a size 6!” I just couldn’t hold it in at that point. I just had to yell, “NO!” and go get myself a LaCroix.
We see it everyday. We try to cling to our confidence and own what we know to be true, as opposed to what the media tells us to think is true. But, let’s be honest, even the strongest among us have challenges.
Our discussion flowed through the importance of mentorship to the imbalance of women talent in the tech industry, to the way so many of us have put other women down or enabled others to say things that are better left unsaid. Many of us in Braintree ladies group do not work directly with each other, but we share a desire to change the payments industry (as all "Braintreeps" do) but also the desire to do so as strong women who want to change the world at large.
There are a lot of ideas we’re working on. How do we turn this fire inside into an ongoing flame? We’re going to get to it. The details aren’t clear yet, but the desire is there and even the initial action points. And we have a few things on the horizon that are incredibly exciting.
I’m proud to work at a company that already, even in less than a month’s time, has shown me a workplace where collaboration doesn’t come at a cost of respect or encouragement. A place that has events like last week where women come together to buck the trend of pushing each other around and down and, instead, create a forum for encouragement and hope.
This post kicks off an ongoing exploration of women in technology and women in the work force. At Braintree we're lucky to have the sort of environment that encourages women to evolve professionally and even personally. We know that not all workplaces are created equal. We're calling our series “BrainSHE: Women in Technology.” #BrainSHE Find out more about Miss Representation here.