Santamarina Steta

Focus on yourself, be noticed and let nothing stop you

Raquel Ortiz is an associate at the Santamarina + Steta law firm. She has 12 years of professional experience and specializes in providing legal advice on labor and social security matters to the business sector.

Even though significant changes have been achieved in favor of the recognition of women and equality concerning men, it is possible that, at times, we do not feel a direct impact on our work environment.
Raquel Ortiz invites you to identify and recognize all those attitudes, beliefs, practices, ideas, and unconscious biases that contribute to this inequality.

In a country where 51% of the population are women, but only 44% of the total, have access to paid work, where there is also a 27% wage gap concerning men. A country in which only 8.7% of the positions on boards of directors and 35% of senior leadership are in charge of women. It is essential to be part of any movement (not to call it a fight) that seeks to achieve equal pay, equal job opportunities in all kinds of positions, and eliminate the privileges currently granted, the fact of being a man. 

However, when we see ourselves immersed in these movements, we inevitably find ourselves bombarded with ideas, practices, attitudes, thoughts, and unconscious biases, which emphasize our predisposition to believe that, when we look for work, a leadership position, a salary increase, a scheme flexible, or the recognition of our authority, we are going to be criticized or demerited.

In my opinion, the combination of these two factors causes that, even though historically significant changes have been achieved in favor of the recognition of women and our equality vis-à-vis men in the workplace, sometimes we do not feel a direct impact on our work environment.

This is why, considering the privileged environment in which we are fortunate to practice our profession, in addition to inviting you to continue participating in any of these movements, today I propose that you practice taking a moment to identify and recognize all those attitudes, programming, beliefs, practices, ideas, thoughts and of course, unconscious biases, which may be contributing to you not getting the position you want, not asking for the raise you deserve, not raising your voice when something is wrong, or not knowing to give you the recognition you seek; and once you have, you can consciously work to remove them from your system.

With this proposal, in no way do I intend to excuse all the other factors that need to change in the country. My only objective is to make us more aware and responsible for ourselves and our actions in the work environment, to capitalize on it for our benefit.

Thus, my first point is that you detoxify yourself from everything that predisposes you to live a reality in which you are not going to be valued or recognized or in which the men who are part of your work environment are going to be favored. And be careful, I am not referring only to the comments or thoughts that we have or hear every day; but also to the role that as women we have had in society and to all the parts of our formation, which are oriented not to raise our voices, not to ask, not to defend our opinions and not to recognize and value ourselves. Make it conscious and eliminate it little by little every day.

My next point is to put into practice the second and third agreements in Miguel Ruíz book: “Don't take anything personally,” remember that we are all part of the same society, in which many practices now recognized as incorrect were previously accepted. Remember that the fight is against the unconscious biases and beliefs that our historical formation has left us, both men and women, not so against men. So, as illogical as it may seem to you, it is possible that whoever is having the wrong behavior or attitude is just not aware of it and is not against you, which brings me to the “Don't make assumptions” agreement. When you feel that you deserve something, that you are not being recognized, that you are not being considered, that something is not correct or bothers you, do not assume that the person who has the power of decision regarding that already knows it. Tell them! Do not just think it is obvious or that they should have realized it by now, make sure you say it expressly and that they listen to you. Yes, it is difficult, and most of us are not used to saying things clearly and directly, but on many occasions, and as absurd as it may seem, something evident to us is not clear to the person in front of us.

So then, my last point is to dare! Dare to be different, challenge yourself every day, question yourself all the time, don't be afraid to try something new, don't be scared to change direction as many times as necessary, train the voice of your mind To motivate yourself and be your biggest fan, take responsibility for your "mistakes," but make sure you turn them into lessons that will teach you and make you grow. Don't spend another minute thinking about what the world expects of you and focus on what you want, modify the "I can't" to "What do I need to achieve it?". Make sure nothing stops you on that path you chose, not even your mind but above all, never be afraid to shine! 

Raquel Ortiz

Mexico City Associate