Category Archives: Femthoughts

“But… who am I?”

lewis carroll

Identity has been on my mind lately.

As one sociologist said: “Most people define themselves by their job. When they retire, they need a narrative about who they are now.”

It is very easy to confuse “What we do” with “who we are”.

Until some years ago I didn’t realize how much I drew upon my work as the source of my identity.

I struggled to find out how I can ensure the commitment to myself to living a significant life.

If we’re not careful, our essence and identity can become absorbed by all of our titles: wife, mother, friend, daughter, employee, coach.

The key to maintaining your balance of self and to become the most authentic version of yourself is simply focusing on what makes you happy by regularly checking in with yourself.

Analyze yourself; I mean truly analyze yourself – this is easier said than done. It takes courage and honesty. If you are ready to face yourself then start with some basics such as:

  • Who are you? Who do you actually want to become/be?
  • The gap between the two is “what is missing”
  • Make a concrete action plan to remove the gap
  • And even more important: Implement the action plan.

There is no need to “tough it out on your own.” Find a friend who is also interested in personal development and who won’t judge the struggle you are experiencing.

It is all within your reach. Success!

Anja Uitdehaag

Everything isn’t about you

Elsa – Frozen

When something upsetting happens at work, a woman is more likely to take it personally than her male counterpart.

Most advice given for handling such a situation would be “It’s just business, don’t take it personally.”

For a long time this kind of advice used to make me even angrier. Not to take things personally? It was personal!

Today? – Though I’m far from being fully detached, I’ve come a long way compared to where I once was.

There’s nothing like growing up in a large competitive family and a global career in a male dominated environment to teach you how to not take things personally.

When you take things personally you give others more power over you than they ever should be allowed to have. You are allowing someone to question what you feel, believe and who you are. It keeps you tied to someone else and can even make you feel like a victim.

The biggest benefits of not taking things personally are self-awareness, self worth and clarity.

Knowing and truly feeling that only you can dictate whether or not you’re on track or whether or not you’re successful is a reward in and of it self.

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”

Anja Uitdehaag

Is Gender Equality a realistic option?

charles darwin2

Gender discrimination is the unequal treatment of someone based on sex.

In the workplace, gender discrimination is illegal if this discrimination affects the “terms or conditions of employment.”

(i.e. hiring/firing/promotions, pay, job classification, benefits)

Nevertheless, gender equality is a hot issue:

  • Just 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEO’s are women. In the U.S. only 17 percent of corporate board seats and 25 percent of senior management positions are held by women, even though women make up nearly half the workforce.
  • Despite attempts to debunk the wage gap statistic, women only earn 77 percent of what men earn for the same job or amount of work. At this rate, it could take a full 45 years before the wage gap disappears.

We have stereotypes about what constitutes leadership, and it is much aligned with our stereotypes about who men are and who women are.

When we think about how leadership is defined, we tend to think more naturally about men as leaders than women.

Not surprisingly, men are expected to be confident, opinionated and assertive, while women are expected to be nurturing, compassionate and passive.

Women therefore are not top-of-mind when we think about leadership, which hinders the ability to move ahead toward gender diversity and equality.

Unless we as women play a major role in abolishing gender stereotypes, gender equality will never be a true option.


Anja Uitdehaag


carl jung1

According to a 2010 study in the journal Psychological Science, “women have a lower threshold for what constitutes offensive behavior,” and hence are more likely to see a need for an apology in everyday situations.

Women apologize more, and they seem to do so to be compliant and empathetic.

Should women “man up?”

Could apologizing be holding women back at work?

View one:

  • “Excuse me, may I ask…”
  • “I might be wrong, but …”
  • “I don’t know, but…”

Phrases like the above litter your speech, and each time you use one, you weaken your own voice. When you say what you mean in a direct, straightforward manner, you’ll be heard, understood and respected.

Knowing how to communicate with confidence sends the message that you are self-assured, proud of your skills, and comfortable in expressing your ideas.

When you stop saying sorry, you allow yourself to grow into the most confident version of yourself.

View two:

Ann Friedman believes it’s up to society to change the sorry game and wrote a story that followed Crosley’s, aptly titled, “Can We Just, Like, Get Over the Way Women Talk?”. She believes women shouldn’t be forced to “question [their] voice.” If all women were to change their speech patterns to fit a prescribed, “powerful” norm, our cadence “would lose the casual, friendly tone we wanted it to have and its special feeling of intimacy…it wouldn’t be ours anymore.”

My view:

There is power in empathy. Apologizing isn’t what keeps women out of high-powered jobs they deserve. It’s not the “sorry” that’s the problem. It’s the sexism.

Anja Uitdehaag


Debasish Mridha

We read and hear day in and day out the same bleak news on violence, wars, death, corruption, starvation and so on. I wonder if this is the only means that the media has to market it’s product and to gain that competitive edge? Perhaps this is the chicken or the egg question. Is it human nature that requires this type of sensationalism or have we been conditioned to react with huge interest to such?

Mine Batiyel



There are two major factors which have an immense impact on career development. The first is related to the self and the second to the immediate boss.

Regarding the self; take your own self development into your own hands. So many potential people today just sit back and wait for training and development opportunities to somehow come their way. If only they would realise that everyday such opportunities are passing by without even being noticed.

Regarding the boss; one has to be lucky enough to have a real coach. A lot of interest is being put on coaching and mentoring in the recent years and it is high time. The difference on the development of a subordinate who is being managed versus coached is immense both in terms of the speed and the quality of development.

Mine Batiyel


Maya Angelou

When comparing different nationalities with respect to work ethics, behaviour, attitude, etc., one will always find some differences and at the same time some similarities. These cover complex areas since the real essence is related to traditions, culture, educational systems, history, societal values and norms and so on. However, one thing is clear and that is, when working with people of different nationalities / cultures, the more one concentrates on the similarities the more success is achieved in all aspects of the business. After all people are people (the world governed by the heart) but somehow different (the world governed by the mind).

Mine Batiyel