Discover the Feminist in You

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I have never considered myself a feminist. I was born in Italy and never had any issues with being a woman that I can recall. Or maybe I was just too busy running after the wrong guy to realize important things about our society.

Then I came to the U.S. and a new window opened to the world. I started to get exposed to different cultures. I also started to see the difficulties that expat women have to face because of the immigration laws. I was a woman following a man for love. I started to wonder how many other women had to go through the same screening and feel treated like a criminal just because they were in love with an American. No need to say women are more willing to follow men in their endeavors. We are more open to sacrifice our life in the name of love. It’s our nature. I started to meet more and more women in that situation, but I had an advantage compared to them. They had followed their partner of the same nationality who had a work permit and many of these women weren’t allowed to work.

That’s how I got exposed to gender bias. Then I started to notice it more and more. The majority of the work visas go to the STEM field—there is not much left for women. This is just a preview of what you will see in the documentary I have been working on with filmmaker Enrica Cavalli: "One Foot In: Stories of Expat Women in America." But this is just to give you an idea of how I came to know gender bias.

In my personal experience, I started to notice gender discrimination at work. I’m a strong woman with strong opinions, and this is not good when your boss is a man. There is this perception that if you are a woman you just need to have a bright smile, boobs up and makeup. I saw women being treated differently, just for being far away from the ideal image that employers have. That’s the sad truth.

Thanks to my involvement with the UN SF Women Women Chapter I came to know more horrifying things happening to women around the world, especially in countries like India and some Arab countries. There is so much left to do to fight gender equality in this world. But in our daily life, the best we can do is be vigilant and call out discrimination when we see it.