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International women’s day with our Leading Lady: Myriam Vangenechten

Myriam Vangenechten

Yesterday, March 8 was International Women’s day. A day to celebrate our female colleagues and zoom in on gender equality. For Minds&More, a perfect moment to see how we are performing on the men vs. women balance. For a couple of years now, we’ve had a female captain: Myriam Vangenechten, our managing partner. On this occasion, we had a talk on how the world has changed, how we are doing now, and what we’d like to improve. 

 

Myriam, you are the only woman in our partner team. What’s that like? 

“In the partner team, but at Minds&More in general, it doesn’t make a difference if you’re a man or a woman. Due to our flat company structure, there is very little hierarchy, and we love it that way. Everyone has a voice at Minds&More. Your gender doesn’t matter.”

 

Looking at today’s payroll, the women outnumber the men. So, quota-wise, we’re doing a good job. What’s your opinion on quota?

“In general, I believe in hiring the best candidate without taking gender into account. But the fact that we – even in Belgium – still need quota must mean we are not as gender-equal as we think.”

The WEF calculated that it would take another 99 years before we reach global equality. Do you agree? 

“In countries like Saudi Arabia, where women can only drive a car since 2018, I can imagine it can take another 99 years. In Belgium, I’ve already seen so many changes since the start of my career.”

What are the biggest shifts that you’ve seen?

“If I make the comparison between the start of my career and now, girls and women believe in their own worth and in being themselves much more. 30 years ago, I worked in insurances, where I was the only woman. I dressed like the men, in blue and grey, because I felt like I had to blend in. I poured the men their coffee and made less money because I was a woman. When I look at my daughters now, they don’t see any difference between a man or a woman’s job; they choose what interests them. Exactly how it should be and what I’d like for all women, Minds&More or anywhere else.”

What’s Minds&More working on to empower our ladies even more?

“If the #metoo movement has taught us anything, it’s that unacceptable behavior is still out there. I believe there are two main ways to address this. The first one is: talking about it. We can’t help you if we don’t know. We have a lot of sympathetic ears at Minds&More. My door, for example, is always open. The second is mastering how to react appropriately. You can teach people how you want to be treated, but it’s not always simple to respond to unwelcome remarks. We always have someone from HR available to listen and help you take action. We want to teach our colleagues (men and women) how to react and stand up for one another. So, talking about how to reach equality won’t be necessary anymore. And not in 99 years, I hope much sooner.”

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