8M: Dardingli Women’s Bussines Core

Mar 08, 2021

Today, March 8, Women’s Day, we want to reflect in Dardingli on the place of women in the business world and especially as an entrepreneur and for this we do not believe that there is anyone better than our CEO and co-founder Beatriz Rodriguez Sanz.

Beatriz is sitting in front of her computer, busy with her work, incessantly tapping the keyboard while she looks at me suspiciously from her table, full of diaries, phones and notes, a mess of papers that seem to make sense only to her. In chaos she has a strict order, the same order by which she attends to today’s tasks. I am sitting in front of her, I do not want to give her any excuse to get rid of this interview.

"I do not think it is very appropriate for me to be interviewed by my own company" she says with that suspicious look "It is even obscene".

"If you know any young entrepreneurial woman who better represents Dardingli’s values ​​than you, I will be delighted to interview her" I say "meanwhile, be the interviewee for once in your life" I say with a malicious smile knowing that now I am the one who can make my boss nervous.

"But isn’t it like very “advertisingly”?"

"We are not talking about Dardingli as a company" I say "we are talking about you as an Entrepreneur in a business world where women, objectively, have more difficulties. Are you not a female entrepreneur?"

Beatriz sighs with resignation, while she makes a gesture with her hand for me to wait while she finishes some things, she doesn’t like to be the centre of attention.

Beatriz is Spanish, originally from Madrid, she is 29 years old, graduated in International Relations as well as Business Management and Creation at the European University of Madrid (UEM), she arrived in Malta in 2016 and in 2019 founded Dardingli. In these years Beatriz has been able to know first-hand the situation of female entrepreneurs in Malta.

Question: What do you think is the biggest barrier for female entrepreneurs in Malta?

Answer: Being an entrepreneur is always difficult in any country, but as a woman there are certain extra barriers that must be faced. When I first arrived in Malta 5 years ago and registered with Social Security, I had to register my father’s name, to my surprise there was no reference to my mother and no choice. Since then, I have had to deal with many difficult situations both personally and professionally, including situations of discredit or sexual harassment at work.

Today, despite working in an industry led by men, I can say that luckily, I do not have to face serious situations of gender inequality.

Question: Can you tell me about a case of a woman who has helped you and who has meant something special to you?

Answer: The woman that I value the most and has always inspired me is my mother, a strong woman with values ​​who has fought all her life both at work and for her family. From her I learned that the most important thing is values ​​and that it is worth fighting for them and being resilient. She is my inspiration in my day to day.

Question: Has being a businesswoman made you want to get more involved in the fight for equality?

Answer: I have always considered activism a very important part of my life, but in my opinion, businessmen have an especially relevant role in society, we have to be part of the change and not go in the shadow of social and legislative changes but rather be drivers of them.

Question: How has it been for you to fulfil your dream of being an entrepreneur and founding Dardingli?

Answer: Founding Dardingli has not been easy, but seeing the company grow so much in such a short time helps us keep going. Undertaking is always a roller coaster with ups and downs where the lows will be very hard, but the ups will be the ones that give you the energy to keep going. There is still a long way to go and I think that without all the team behind Dardingli this would not be possible.

Question: Your opinion regarding what is happening in Malta regarding sexism.

Answer: In Malta, the situation of women is especially complex, a clear example of this is the non-existence of a march for women’s rights on a day like today when in other parts of the world the streets are filled with tides of women or as on women’s day gifts or flowers are given, when in other parts, women’s day is a day of fight.

Question: It is always difficult to combine professional life with personal life, but especially for women, how can we strike a balance between what we want to do without abandoning ourselves due to lack of time?

Answer: It is always difficult to reconcile, but in Malta women are often responsible for caring for the family among others for cultural reasons. An example of this is how until last year, the father only had the right to one day of parental leave, which meant that the entire burden of caring for the family fell on the woman. Fortunately, thanks to the rise of teleworking, it will be easier and easier to reconcile.

Question: Women have it much more difficult in the world of employment. This is probably why more and more women are launching themselves as entrepreneurs. Do you think there is any other reason why they are becoming more and more numerous in this entrepreneurial world?

Answer: Fortunately, the employment situation of women is changing, and more and more women are entrepreneurs and in the world of work in general. But even so, there are socio-cultural barriers that must be fought against and that are the most difficult and the ones that make our career difficult. I believe that the empowerment of women at a global level is making women decide to take the step.

Question: What would you do if you were not afraid? Or, put another way, what would you do if you believed even more in yourself?

Answer: I believe that there is no courage without fear. I believe that fear is inherent in us, but we must face it. We cannot ignore fear because it is what makes us aware of the dangers and consequences of our decisions and actions.

Question: What do you recommend to future entrepreneurs who may be afraid to start a business because of sexism barriers?

Answer: Only crazy people are not afraid, but this should not be a barrier when it comes to undertaking. You must understand that failure is linked to entrepreneurship, but it is particularly important to learn to deal with frustration in the face of failure, be constant and get back up a thousand times; Resilience is possibly the most important characteristic when it comes to undertaking. I would encourage everyone who wants to start doing it, it will be hard, but it is certainly worth it. As women we must face more professional and personal barriers, but luckily, we are never alone and there is a great network of women and men who will support us on our way.

Me: I think we have enough with this, Thank you, boss.

Beatriz: You’re welcome. 

In a market designed by and for men, women have made their way into it. Although it has been at a slow pace and sometimes backtracking, they have managed to gain weight in the world of entrepreneurship. In Malta, the female entrepreneurship rate - which measures the percentage of the total population that decides to create a business on their own account - has grown from 6.1% to 7.6% between 2009 and 2018, four points below that of men, according to data of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2019-2020, the index used as a benchmark in the sector. In the most developed countries of the EU the percentage has grown from 4 to 10%. In addition to the difficulties that many sectors go through (and that do not distinguish between gender), women have seen and - they will see, if nothing changes - building walls that they had managed to tear down. Today, March 8th, we must reflect on this.

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