It’s no secret that at Start it @KBC we promote female entrepreneurship. Also no secret is the fact that there’s still lots of work to be done there. That’s why we decided to hand over the mike to Eleanora Censorii, driving force behind Destination Everywhere Accessible Travel, to hear about her company and her challenges as a female founder. The online platform promoting travel for people with disabilities was launched in 2017.
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Making your voice heard
Forty-three years old, Eleanora grew up in Italy. She found her country not be as easy for a woman as Belgium. When she first started working just after graduation, “I didn’t expect to be treated any differently, but I noticed that my voice wasn’t being heard as much as that of my male colleagues,” she says. “I thought it was me, I thought I just had to work harder, do something more, do something different. And then I noticed that no, it’s just that sometimes I was the only woman in the room, and my voice wasn’t really being heard as it should.” The gender bias she had experienced became more obvious for Eleanora when she started working for a Spanish company where she did feel more equal.
Hard work & experience triumph
So how did Eleanora try to overcome the gender bias everywhere? By working hard! “I grew up a lot as a professional, and all the work I put in the many different positions I’ve had, I’m now putting to work for my own company. Also moving to Belgium was a great thing, there’s more equality in the professional world here.” While some people may say the younger, the better, Eleanora finds that age gives you more authority and makes it easier to deal with gender bias. She says, “You have a stronger self-awareness, you know your skills and your power, your potential, and certainly you sell yourself better.”
Advice for the next generation
Fortunately, Eleanora finds there’s more gender equality now than when she was younger. “I do get the idea that with millennials roles are much more equal. The gender bias is still out there, but it’s different,” she says. Her advice to young women venturing into the world of entrepreneurship? “My advice is, if you find blocks, build a strong network of other women professionals and try and build strong alliances.” In some contexts it’s difficult to change the dominant mentality, “so in the meantime it’s a matter of finding your allies and working your way into the world you want to change.” Eleanora admires the determination and willingness to work hard that is moving women forward. “Women are making it, also in professions that were always considered exclusively male. I think the outlook is positive, and things are changing.”