Ever since I started my first job I have gotten used to being a minority. It started when I worked part-time during college and then when I joined a major multinational corporate full-time. No, I do not come from a different ethnic or religious background than the majority of my colleagues, I am simply a woman. I was the first female to join my team (I work in Marketing, not a job that requires physical power women don’t have) and even when another joined, we were two girls in a team of 10. I have gotten used to being the only girl in a meeting of 8.
It was good at first, I have always worked with men so it was no issue. And I even loved the possibility of wearing the same outfit a million times and go to work with my messy hair and they wouldn’t even notice that anything was wrong with it.
But what I was okay with was no longer okay; it was no longer okay when I found that I have to work twice as hard as my male colleagues to be noticed, when I had to raise my voice a million times louder to be heard, when I was not considered for projects because I am a young girl who can’t join them during work meetings that took place late at night in that local cafe (el-ahwa) where men only are allowed. I was simply forgotten.
But let me break it to you, I am just as good as this guy who didn’t have to fight for the same promotion I had to fight for months to get. I am just as a capable, maybe even more qualified for that project you handed the new guy instead of me.
This is to all the women I work with, who are overlooked, ignored just because one day they may need a maternity leave. This is to all the women I know who are more capable than many men who have easily taken their jobs. Raise your voice, fight for what you deserve.