Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.
It was very clear to me, that I would like to dedicate my March blog post to all women on this planet:
to female wisdom, beauty, uniqueness, love and the miracle of woman.
And there I sat, 🤷🏻♀️and I didn’t come up with anything…nothing…I felt like was I trying to write about something that wasn’t even there yet, and I couldn’t put it into words.
I admit that the International Women’s Day as well as the Equal Pay Day initiated the selection of my blog topic because both are celebrated in March.
I started researching and felt right away that I didn’t want to dive into the history and problems of the “women’s issue” – no:
We know that thanks to individual, brave and strong women, a lot has already been achieved regarding women’s rights and we also know that worldwide much has not yet been achieved and many young women continue to initiate great things. 🙏🏻
Which women have shaped me – which woman am I?
I started to reflect and think about how the women in my family have shaped me. How did they fascinate and motivate me? How am I a role model for young women? All that went through my mind.
My father’s mother, my grandmother was a very strict woman. I admit that I had a lot of respect for her, I was almost a little afraid of her. It was only much later that I learned that at the time of National Socialism – as a single mother of 7 children at the time (my grandfather was in war) and an entrepreneur – she slapped a Nazi officer in the face because he intended to take her sons to the Hitler Youth. She risked her life at that time – fortunately she got away with a fine… “We don’t need Hitler, we are with God,” she is supposed to have said back then.
And there was “granny Gauß”, the mother of my mom, who gave birth to 13 children, lost her husband and 3 sons in war, had her house, business and home taken away from her. She spent two years in a concentration camp with her younger children and later build a life as a stateless family in Austria. I remember her as a very determined and incredibly emphatic woman. My mother must have built a very close relationship with her during those incredibly difficult times they endured together, marked by deep love and respect. And there is my mom, who was and is always there for others because of her history. She has always stood up for the rights of the weakest, dedicated her life to us children and was the first female member of the municipal council in my hometown – that makes me proud in retrospect. And there is me, the first woman in my hometown to graduate with a Magistra degree from university, writing a blog post to the admiration and encouragement of all women, because I am convinced that we can only move the women’s issue forward together, out of love for humanity and with respect and appreciation for each other.
“You don’t have to play masculine to be a strong woman.”, -Mary Elizabeth Winstead,
JU’S 3 QUESTIONS OF THE MONTH
1. What is your particular strength as a woman?
2. Which women have shaped your life and are your female role models?
3. How will the still strongly male-dominated field of digitization affect the nature of artificial intelligence and the ‘female’ everyday life of the future? How can we help to shape this development?
🙎🏼♀️Kathrin Gauss 🇦🇹🇫🇷
Kathrin is the daughter of a cousin of mine – we first met in Paris in 2017 where she currently lives and does her master’s degree in International Marketing and Business. From the first moment we met, I felt ‘connected’ with her – I appreciate her empathetic, sympathetic, spontaneous and refreshing nature. Also, Kathrin loves to sing.
🙎♀️Karin Dietachmayr 🇦🇹
Karin and I met in 2018 while organizing the Think Tank Festival for regional thought leaders in Freistadt, Upper Austria. Karin is a strategy and organizational developer as well as an innovation expert. She loves everything related to the future.
I admire Karin’s passion and commitment for social issues and innovation and appreciate her clear communication and organizational skills.
Helga is a clinical psychologist and educator and was my absolute favorite teacher during my secondary school years (late 1970s) with a great role model effect – she motivated and inspired me. I admire Helga’s sense of independence, her enthusiasm, her individual style, her openness to new things as well as her warm nature. She has a great interest in culture and exercise and loves to take long walks with her dog.
🙎🏼♀️Kathrin Gauss 🇦🇹🇫🇷
I would say that moving out of my parents’ house at the age of 17 shaped and strengthened me a lot. The greatest lesson I learned by living on my own was what it really meant to become an independent woman, one who works toward achieving her goals while simultaneously managing daily life tasks and requirements. By living on my own, I learn something new about myself every day, which has undoubtedly contributed to the resilient person I am today. The experience has taught me to overcome personal failure, view obstacles as a part of life, and allowed me to grow beyond my wildest dreams.
My grandmother has definitely shaped my life by means of showing me what really matters. She was very young when she met and married my grandfather. They haven’t had a lot of money or an easy life, but they would always give their five children the shirt off their backs. My grandmother conveys to me that love and cohesion are the most important things in life besides health. She is the one everyone comes to with the little and big issues and always stands in the kitchen for hours to make sure every family member is happy and satisfied. My grandmother is the most caring, strong, and loyal person I know.
I think that especially nowadays, it is important that women take the initiative, believe in themselves, and take a step out. Today, the digital transformation provides new avenues for women’s economic empowerment and can contribute to greater gender equality. This, in fact, is essential for ensuring that men and women can conduce fully for a better society and economy. Even if it is a strongly male-dominated field, I believe that digitization can help bridge the divide by giving women new possibilities and opportunities.
🙎♀️Karin Dietachmayr 🇦🇹
My transformational power. I have a keen sense for people, systems and developments. I perceive what is and what already exists and what will be needed in future. However, I do not remain stuck in thinking, I rather develop solutions, experiment and which I subsequently realize.
Every self-determined and independent woman, as well as all the courageous fighters for gender equality from history and the present. I don’t want to commit myself to a single woman, because there were and are so many wonderful women. I also relate in this context to my mother, sister and nieces as well as all female ancestors among them in. They are hard workers, with a big heart and a strong sense of justice.
I think that one thing is indispensable in all these developments: People and their needs as well as the needs of our environment (fauna and flora) must be placed at the center of all activities. Technology is a means to an end and must provide concrete benefits. In the field of digitalization and artificial intelligence, we sometimes run the risk that perspectives of women or other groups are missing in their development or that impacts are not thought through comprehensively. Who benefits from digitization and is participation even possible for everyone? How can we exclude or reduce negative effects? How can we use AI to eliminate human bias? Where can AI help in solving global problems? Does it make sense to maybe not digitize everything after all? There are a lot of questions that are still open for me. We also need to understand what artificial intelligence actually does, what rules it is based on, and who made these rules.
I think that one of my most important strengths as a woman is my irrepressible will for the highest degree of autonomy possible and self-determination. As far back as I can remember – and this thought goes back to my earliest youth – I was always glad and happy to be a woman. And this despite the fact that I grew up in a time that was still strongly characterized by male-authoritarian structures, especially in the countryside. Presumably, however, it was this perception that strengthened my female will to assert myself and my perseverance with regard to life goals that were important to me!
The most significant female role models for me were my maternal grandmother and my great-aunt and godmother – affectionately called “Godi” by me. My grandmother was a strong woman who lived through World War I as a child and World War II as a young married adult. During the years of World War II, she had to provide for her family alone: my mother, who was a young child at the time, and my great-grandfather, while her husband was drafted into the war. She sometimes told what risks she had to take at that time so that the family could even have the bare necessities to eat. My Godi was the first woman in my family of origin to be allowed to study. She was a teacher and principal of a small rural school, independent, self-determined, unmarried and certainly a formative role model for my own life.
At the same time, demarcations also played an essential role, I knew very early on exactly how I did NOT want to become: for instance, like my mother – a woman dependent on her husband, my father, in an unhappy marriage, without an occupation and income of her own.
I am quite sure that in the future there will have to be more female experts in the field of “digitization”: more female programmers, data analysts, roboticists, engineers, etc. in order to free the essence of artificial intelligence from one-sided male perspectives. It will continue to be necessary to get girls interested in technology and also to get ourselves interested in these topics into our later years in the sense of being female role models. In any case, the creation of artificial intelligences in the sense of exclusively female “servants” such as ALEXA must be extremely critically questioned!