In this blog I want to share Elena’s welcome speech. I am certain that if Sor Juana had attended the conference she he would have embraced her with compassion. It's amazing that more than five hundred years after her famous reprimand to those "foolish men" we, women, still do not we enjoy the same rights and privileges enjoyed by them.
Here are Elena’s words. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. And I hope that you, wherever they are, will organize your own chingona conference. Above all, I hope that someday my granddaughters will live in a world inhabited by wise (and not foolish) men and women.
After reading please tell me, are you a chingona? are there any chignonas in your life? Tell us about you and them!
It is my great honor to be surrounded by so many beautiful and capable women. I am grateful you accepted the invitation to this, our first conference of chingonas.
Without any particular order we have the presence of: Lawyers, Homemakers, Architects, Artists, Dancers, Singers, Chefs, Scientist, Counselors, Consultants, Accountants, Decorators, Sportswomen, Designers, Doctors, Editors, Writers, Engineers, Instructors, Mothers, Teachers, Musicians, Nannies, Painters, Teachers, Chemists, Therapists, and Volunteers.
A lot of chingonas, right?
So here is the thing, I think that those of us to whom modesty was fed in a bottle, like our mother’s milk, and who were rewarded by it, we find it hard to achieve a balance between modesty and pride for our successes.
In the dictionary, modesty is defined as the quality of being humble, avoid of conceit or vanity.
So I wonder: In the spectrum between humble and conceited, where does the term chingona fit? I think we each must try to find it, because in the end it is a very personal position. In our Latin culture, particularly that of Mexico, where I grew up, society is sexist and women are taught that "the more quiet we are, the more beautiful we look"
The interesting thing is that this not only what men expect of women, but how women expect other women to behave. In other words, we better be modest, because if not, we may find ourselves without friends.
Even here in the United States, where the feminist movement began half a century ago, women still cannot shine without being judged.
About 2 or 3 years ago I talked about this with a chingona here present. I think it would be good to read that book by Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, she told me. A few days later I got the book “Lean In: Women, Work and Will to lead.”
I loved how Sheryl teaches women about our challenges and great opportunities. She devotes a whole chapter to Success and likability. She shares a 2003 study conducted by Professor Frank Flynn from the business department of Columbia University. He did a case study at the School of Business at the University of Harvard. The case study was Heidi Roizen, a businesswoman. He described how she became successful venture capitalist by using her "extroverted personality, and vast personal and professional network that included powerful leaders in the business area and in the technology sector." Half of the students were assigned to read the story of Heidi and the other half were given the same story with one difference-they changed the name Heidi to Howard.
A survey was made to students regarding their impressions of Heidi and Howard. The students assessed Heidi and Howard as equally competent. This was no surprise because "their" achievements were completely identical. But while students respected both Heidi and Howard, Howard seemed like a more captivating choice. Heidi, on the other hand, was perceived as selfish, and not the "kind of person you'd want to hire or have as a boss." The same information with one difference-gender-created a difference of views.
The author explains that this experiment supports other research that has clearly shown that success and likability are positively correlated with men, and negatively correlated with women. She believes that this is the primary reason why women hold themselves back from seeking success. Sheryl delves into why this occurs, and suggests actions that we can take to not be punished for our achievements. I agree with her that we can start by sharing the success of other chingonas.
The book resonated deeply with my experience and concerns. I am grateful that chingonas like Sheryl share of their way and vision of the future. Here are the Lean In groups.
In my ideal world the success of a chingona will not intimidate us, but inspire us. In my ideal world we define, share, and celebrate our success. In my ideal world the chingonas are happy being homemakers, managing companies, or simply doing what they like.
I organized this conference as a small contribution towards that world.
Thank you for being here.