You are the problem

The problem is always someone else.
Those sexist, violent, ignorant people. Those who don’t respect women, maybe even using religion or values as a cover.
Well, I’m sorry: you’re the problem. Not the only problem, but a problem nevertheless.
You, not realising when a woman is interrupted.
You, not seeing where the problem is, if she sits further away.
You, not leaving when on a men-only panel.
You, saying: “She should have left! She should have done this and that”. As if the burden of education and protest falls solely on those who are discriminated, not on those who discriminate or stand back and watch.
You, saying: “Well, she’s gone too far now”, if she gets up and leaves.
You’re the problem. Good news is: you’re not a hard problem to solve. But you need to want to.
The solution is in your hands: what will you do?

Nella foto, la visita di stato di Charles Michel e Ursula von der Leyen a Ankara ad aprile 2021.

What happened to von der Leyen happens to so many women, even to those who benefit from great power and privilege, every day. In my world, there are no Erdogans, we only see them on the news. But it’s full of Michels. They’re nice and competent, in many cases.

I am happy that this episode was so blatant, that these pictures travelled the world in a second. Who knows? Maybe, starting today, explaining what happens daily to women in the workplace -and in general in the public space- will be easier. Yes, it happens even to those with power, responsibility and privilege. All the “ähm” that we uttered, all the times that we stayed and all those when we left slamming the door! You, who are reading me, you’re not an Erdogan, I’m sure. But are you sure that you are not, and never have been, a Michel?

You, who are reading me, you’re not an Erdogan, I’m sure. But are you sure that you are not, and never have been, a Michel?

I say this for me, of course, as I want to live in a better society. But I say it for you too: there are much more interesting positions, roles and behaviours: those of true allies. What are you waiting for?

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