Getting Stuck in the Closets

Sena KAR

Thanks to Anka Youth Association, I heard about #GenderIDTalks activities, and I joined the second panel as a listener. Firstly, I want to talk about the aims of this event. #GenderIDTalks aims to promote gender equality with the support of many associations. The second panel is called ‘’Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship’’ and gathers five amazing women from different countries. Guest speakers talked about their ventures, their success stories, and difficulties that they faced as a woman.

I enjoyed listening to speakers, and they inspired me a lot. But my favourite part about this panel is that the speakers didn’t repeat each other. All these precious women talked about different subjects for the same purpose. I would like to talk about them shortly and share what they made me consider.

Khoula Beki talked about her ventures and her successes. Also, she talked about her self-knowledge journey. She stated that she was always looking for a partner in her ventures and that she was afraid to make decisions on her own. And at this point, Khoula’s story turned into the story of many women in work life. As women, we have been told that we don’t belong in business life for centuries. Because of that, most women have a belief that they are not enough. Both in our educational life and social life, we try so hard to take a part in competitive environments and to be approved by others. This also reflects in our work life too, and we start to over-think when we have to decide about something. And we want to be approved by people around us all the time. When Khoula realized these thoughts, she decided to take a big step. She closed all her ventures and stopped doing partnerships. During the Covid-19 process, she chose to start ventures that reflect her own vision. Briefly, Khoula chose to own her thoughts and embrace herself as she is. We should be brave and choose to make choices that reflect our desires too. I hope that like Khoula, all women enter this precious process where they realize that their opinions are valuable.

Ioana Tatarciuc talked about inspirational women in her speech. She talked about women who are innovators, open-minded, leaders. This speech made me think about the women who inspire me. Three women came to my mind. One of them is the author of the ”Anne of Green Gables” series, L.M. Montgomery. She released her book series in 1908, and it’s fascinating that these books are still being read. She created immortal characters who inspire young women for a century. The second woman is a psychologist and an author, Clarissa P. Estes. Her book ”Women Who Run With the Wolves” has been my favourite book since I was a college student. Besides these precious authors, the first woman who came to my mind was Oget Oktem Tanor. In certain periods of my life, I was her student, intern, volunteer, and a big fan. Besides the professional education, she taught me what kind of person I should be. She is one of the most inspiring women in my life.

Farah Tbaileh talked about her experiences as a young entrepreneur. She told us the difficulties she faced as a woman and how she succeeded by breaking down the prejudices. As a woman who is in the same age as her, listening to her achievements made me so happy. She mentioned that many women entrepreneurs started small businesses in Palestine during the Covid-19 process. Likewise, Fatma Ayanoğlu also mentioned that a lot of women launched their ventures in the pandemic. The long time we spend at home seems to have played a role in creating new opportunities for women.

Eszter Boros talked about her career journey and the people she met through the years. She mentioned that there is an entrepreneur in all of us. Also, she gave wonderful advice for young women and new entrepreneurs; ”Dream big, start small”. As a young woman who is planning to sell her own handmade products, this advice will be an important guide for me.

Bilge Imer talked about gender stereotypes she faced in different countries. As someone who lives in the same country as her, I encounter these stereotypes every day. It is really hard to deal with problems that we are facing in work life. But just like she said, we should never back off and continue to work hard.

Listening to these amazing five women made me remember a TEDx speech. Also, this speech gave me inspiration for the title of this article. In the TEDx speech, Sage Lavine said that she was locked in a locker by her bullies. In those times, she thought that she wasn’t enough. She wasn’t beautiful enough, she wasn’t popular enough, she wasn’t cool enough so that is why these bullies locked her in. All the wounds we got through life make us believe cruel things about ourselves. Because of these beliefs, we remain in these lockers for a long time. Despite all the beliefs and wounds, we have to leave these closets. We are not only fighting against gender stereotypes, bullies, or others. But we also fight against ourselves. If we make ourselves convince that we are good enough, smart enough, strong enough, we can convince everyone. I wish the days that we embrace ourselves as who we are are close.


TEDx Talks. (2019, 9 Mayıs). The Secret Power of Female Entrepreneurs. [Video dosyası].

Küçük, E. (2021, 19 Nisan). ‘’Kadın Girişimciler Salgın Sürecinde Ürünlerini Pazarlamak için Dijital Mecraları Etkin Kullanıyor’’. Anadolu Ajansı.

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