Get to know Priscila Pereira – Director of Research and Innovation, Shape Talent

What’s been a defining moment for you as a woman in your career?   

I guess it was when I was doing my PhD in binary gender studies, and I came across the work from Tina Miller. I realised that all domains in life need to be balanced with feminine and masculine traits in order to be sustainable (here I am talking about traits and both genders will have both traits). For example, at work we have overused traits normally described as masculine like competition, ambition and aggression. Now, we have an increasing ESG agenda to deliver in order to stop us destroying the planet because we overused these traits. These masculine traits are critical for evolution, but they must be balanced with traits usually described as feminine such as collaboration, empathy and nurturing so we can evolve sustainably. At this point, I realised that my contribution was not about enabling women to play the ‘game’; it was about enabling women to change the ‘game’!

Which of the Three Barriers to gender equality interests you most and why? 

The organisational barriers. In EDI, we acknowledge that there are several social ecosystems influencing individuals’ ability to succeed. This is translated into systemic barriers that are impossible to be dismantled at the individual level. This leads us to redefine the meaning of merit in the organisational context and how many people will work incredibly hard to survive and not thrive. Thriving is just not accessible to them because of the barriers they face. So, organisations have an active role here in fixing and reforming the environment.

Do you face the double burden as a woman with a career, and if so, how do you manage it? 

Chore wars are still very much a reality in my dual career household from time to time, even after putting so many strategies in place. There will always be an element that my husband will compare his household contribution to that of his dad and his male breadwinner friends, making him look very good. So there is a constant need to remind ourselves of our own set-up, manage our frustrations, and for me is about resisting temptation to do more than my share and, most importantly, managing emotions like guilt.

What have you read recently? 

Last month, I attended the United Nations CSW event, which included many engaging sessions. I have been exploring why we are struggling to make the progress we need to achieve gender equity.

Women have not designed the critical systems managing our societies and economies (e.g., legal, work, and welfare), so there are plenty of biases ‘baked in’ that exclude women. Therefore, can women ever be included, or do we need new systems? This leads me to consider the importance and significance of statutory frameworks in driving gender equity.

The EU played an essential role in supporting gender equity in the UK through its directives and protection from the European Court of Justices, resources and funding. I am concerned with the UK as I have not seen a robust plan based on an equality impact assessment into how women’s rights, welfare and status have been affected by Brexit and what the UK Government is doing to mitigate this. Anna Sanders shared a 6-minute blog explaining this well, which is worth reading if you work in this field (LSE- What does Brexit mean for the future of gender equality).

My conclusion is if systems are not designed by women, they are not for women – so you need to start again!