How we can free ourselves from stereotypes


The diversity of being human - how we can free ourselves from stereotypes

Marianne Temerowski works as a Product Manager at Swisscom, is a co-founder of the new WoMen's Empowerment Community and part of our Diversity Campaign. Her reasons for getting involved in diversity are just as diverse as Marianne herself.

Marianne, why is diversity important to you?

…because I have realised that every way of thinking is enriching and that it is always possible to think "differently".

Switzerland is the 7th country I have moved to in my life. In every country, I am surprised that you always learn to put things into perspective and look at things differently. Depending on the country, there is a different way of holding meetings or bringing up children, for example. And as a rule, all laws and customs have at least one advantage, otherwise they wouldn't exist.

...because stereotypes often limit us rather than help us.

Studies show, for example, that if you point out common stereotypes to girls while they are solving maths problems, such as that "boys are better at maths", the actual performance of girls in maths problems in this context deteriorates. In my view, this is lost potential for everyone: boys and girls and adults.

In everyday life, (unconscious) prejudices are also common, such as the tendency to try to confirm made assumptions (instead of looking for something that contradicts them). Similarly, even babies prefer people who are similar to them, and this trend continues in adult life. These biases also have a number of advantages, but you should be aware of them if possible and consciously counteract them if necessary. Like all people, I myself naturally have biases. Incidentally, this also makes me humble and even more open. Because we are all in the same boat.

I think we can achieve more diversity of thought if we treat our counterparts with openness, tolerance and generosity. By this I mean: I am happy, for example, to make role models visible where both parents work and successfully combine this with a family. But that doesn't mean that traditional family models are any less valuable or relevant. I think our horizons should broaden in terms of ways of thinking and life models and not simply shift from one model to another and discard everything that has gone before.

What are you committed to in the area of diversity?

I am committed to ensuring that diversity engagement takes place in a dialogue and that a win-win situation is sought for everyone. For me, the opinions of people who disagree are just as important as those who have a similar opinion. And diversity and inclusion can only be effective if we reach many people, not just those who are already convinced of the added value of diversity. Furthermore, women's empowerment does not work without men, just as LGBTIQ* empowerment does not work without straight allies.

In my view, diversity is particularly important in the field of digitalisation, as it is an area that is growing enormously and at the same time has a shortage of skilled workers. Qualified women, who are still less represented in the tech sector than men, can make a valuable contribution here.

I am also committed to ensuring that younger generations have it even easier and can be even braver.

Dear Marianne, thank you very much for your time and your great commitment.

Roxana Achermann

Roxana Achermann

Young Professional Diversity Management & Employment Relations

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