“My Name is Steve”

 

Women in Project Management Leadership

 

COMMENTARY

By Cecilia Boggi, PMP

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 


 

“Leadership has masculine traits”

“Technology is not for women”

“Entrepreneurs are men”

Women still today continue dealing with prejudices, stereotypes and difficulties in our professional development. What has been metaphorically referred to as “Crystal Roof”, “Crystal Labyrinth” or “Sticky Floor”, is still valid in the XXI century.

However, we could not complain if we compare it with what the courageous women who preceded us have had to fight for to open a path for us and make great advances.

One of these brave women is the talented Stephanie Shirley, who had to change her name to “Steve” to be received in the business world of the United Kingdom in the ’60s.

At that time, women couldn’t even drive a truck or open a bank account without their husband’s permission. Imagine the difficulty to enter into the workforce. Those who achieved it have had to survive with the fear of sexual harassment on a regular basis.

Stephanie Shirley, who was born in Germany, terrified at the age of 5 years old, in 1939, arrived in England as a Jewish refugee, escaping the Holocaust with her 9-year-old sister Renata. Having escaped from Germany to Austria, his parents raised the two little sisters to the Kindertransport program, famous for having saved a large number of children from the terrible fate that would await them in the Europe of the Nazis. Stephanie and Renata were received by a kind couple who resided close to London.

In her book “Let it Go,” [1] Shirley says that being a refugee and saving herself from the Holocaust marked her life in such a way that she decided to make sure that each day was worth living. According to her own words: “I was determined not to allow other people to define me, to open my way by myself, to build something new and not be discouraged by the conventions of the day.”

Being that she liked math very much and, at that time the most scientific topic being taught in schools for girls were biology, she decided to enroll in a boys’ school, which was not easy for her.  She had to start dressing as a boy as a way to not be noticed.

When she finished her high school she started working; at the same time she began her evening studies to graduate with honors with her Mathematics Degree, 6 years later.

In 1951, being only 18 years old, she was hired at the Research Station of the Post Office in Dollis Hill, at the northwest of London, the place where they had developed World War II decoding machines.

She worked on transatlantic telephone cables and on the development of the first electronic telephone calls, among other projects.

Although she liked his work a lot, she was frustrated to see that she never received a promotion, unlike her male colleagues, who, with less merits and qualifications, obtained the promotions.

More…

To read entire report click here for (English) or (Spanish)

 

How to cite this article: Boggi, C. (2019). My Name is Steve – Women in Project Management Leadership; PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue III (April).  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/pmwj80-Apr2019-Boggi-My-Name-is-Steve-English.pdf and at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/pmwj80-Apr2019-Boggi-Mi-Nombre-es-Steve-Spanish.pdf

 


 

About the Author

Cecilia Boggi

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 

 

Cecilia Boggi, PMP is founder and Executive Director of activePMO, giving consulting services and training in Project Management and Leadership skills in Argentina and Latin America.

After graduating with a degree in Computer Science Engineering from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina, she has managed software development projects and PMO implementation projects for more than 20 years both in the government and private sector. Cecilia has an Executive Master in Business Administration from Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, Spain and also has graduated from an Executive Program in Business Management at Universidad del CEMA. She holds the Project Management Professional (PMP®) credential since 2003, is certified as SDI Facilitator from Personal Strengths©, is a Professional Executive Coach accredited by Association for Coaching, UK, and alumni of the PMI Leadership Institute Master Class 2012.

Ms. Boggi is Past President of the PMI Buenos Aires Argentina Chapter, and is a founding member of the PMI Nuevo Cuyo Chapter and PMI Santa Cruz Bolivia Chapter. She was PMI’s Mentor for Region 13, Latin America South, for the years 2014-2016.  Cecilia participated in the development of PMI’s PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition, leading the Chapter 9, Human Resource Management, content team; she is professor of Project Management and Leadership in some Universities and Institutes in Latin America.

She can be contacted at Cecilia@activepmo.com and www.activepmo.com

To view other works by Cecilia Boggi, visit her author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/cecilia-boggi/.

 

[1] Shirley, S. (2012). Let It Go: The Memoirs of Dame Stephanie Shirley. https://www.amazon.com/Let-Go-Memoirs-Stephanie-Shirley/dp/1782342826