I want quotas for people who can understand and express their emotions

This article is available in Bulgarian.

Klimentina Rasheva
Founder and managing partner аt denkstatt Bulgaria

CAREER: Klimentina founded the Bulgarian branch of denkstatt together with Boyan Rashev. She developed the company’s Social and Human Capital Management services, which represent the latest concepts in the development of sustainable business practices. Her projects are focused on creating strategies and reports for sustainable management and social capital impact assessments, focused on stakeholder engagement and employee wellbeing.

ABOUT THE COMPANY: denkstatt Bulgaria consults companies on how to properly manage natural, social and human capital. denkstatt Group is a leading Central and Eastern European company, centered in Vienna, Austria. Cocal-Cola, HBC Bulgaria, Lidl, Billa, Kaufland, Telenor, Vivacom, Metro AG, Dundee Precious Metals, Asarel-Medet, Speedy, the European Commission, the Ministry of environment and waters, the National Revenue Agency, Capital municipality and others are among denkstatt’s clients.

Are you for or against male-female quotas at the workplace? Why?

I am against them. Typically those who manage companies have an innate sense of what is important for their business. Solutions dictated by quotas do not follow experience, context or reason. Choosing who to hire is dictated by processes inside the company, which hardly correlate with quotas, making the entire exercise futile. Companies are living organisms and everything in them rearranges over time – entropy rules at any given moment. The theme about men and women at the workplace did not appear on the daily agenda by natural means, and the real added value of quotas is missed by many: what is the benefit to the people and the company? When we write or audit reports on corporate sustainability we usually run into issues on this theme.     

What do you personally do to ensure that the women who are under your management are not forced to choose between their career and personal life?

I consider my own needs as a mother and a professional and I apply the same measure to the women around me. Typically my reaction is to stimulate stagnant mothers by booting them out of their comfort zone with out of office work tasks. Natural, isn’t it?

Does gender matter?

It does. Haven’t you noticed? I am having trouble imagining a world in which it doesn’t…

Is there a stigma that women are the weaker gender?

No, but there is a stigma that women are uncontrollably emotional and that emotions are unnatural and only weak people have them (“like women”).

What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in business or the work place?

Not to deceive themselves – if they are doing well at work they will feel bad because they are not good mothers, or vice versa. I will leave you with two ideas. First, you have to accept that you will be choosing which role is more important to you at various times during your career, and that you won’t be able to drive two cars at once. If you believe in the idealized image of the perfect mother professional then you’ve been deceived. It isn’t possible to achieve unless you have access to 24 hour support from at least three other parents, cleaners, drivers and cooks. Second, for this reason, you should consider putting in place a system for managerial support at work and invest exceptional resources in the people who support you outside of work and in your household. If these systems are unstable, you will be building a skyscraper on a weak foundation. Without this foundation the choice between the two roles will be difficult to make. With it you will survive and learn to look at your life with the intensity of a panther – you will feel the power of the mother-manager.

Do you believe in the Lehman Sisters theory?

I have to look at the methodology by which it was concluded that the lack of women at Lehman Brothers led to its collapse. Do you believe that bad cholesterol is a consequence of animal fat? Well, when we carefully look at the studies on the subject, it turns out that a mistake was made and that cholesterol is actually a consequence of higher levels of triglycerides in the blood. What I believe is that the collapse was due to bad governance. Maybe “women” had some role to play in the collapse, but I would say that it wasn’t more than 5% of the total causes. Do you believe in the theory?

Are feelings and emotions a shortcoming or an advantage?

It depends on how they are expressed. Being able to understand your emotions and the needs that trigger them is virtually a mandatory requirement. I want quotas for people who have learned to understand and express their emotions. There are no people without feelings or emotions. However, there are people who don’t know how to recognize their emotions and falsely believe that they need to suppress them or deal with them in some other unhealthy way.  

The original text was published in “Zhenata e”, second issue of “Menidzhar” magazine

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