Would I feel less of a woman without high heels and a perfect manicure?
As a Russian woman living in Switzerland and fighting gender stereotypes, Kristina reveals how she had to overcome prejudices all the time and why she decided to support Code Eve.
Hi! My name is Kristina. I am a Relationship Manager in private banking in Geneva, Switzerland.
Why have you chosen to support Code Eve ?
When I first heard of Code Eve, I was surprised that a jewelry and watch brand would support such a sensitive topic as women empowerment. Living in Geneva, I am exposed to all kind of luxury brands, but none of them is addressing so directly a topic which is really dear to my heart. So, when I heard the concept of the brand and its active contribution for empowering women, I decided I would associate myself to the project.
Although I have lived in Switzerland now for over 15 years, I come from Moscow. So I proudly accepted to somehow represent women from Eastern Europe! I also liked the idea that Code Eve featured women that are not actual models, but that resemble me: mums, professionals, wives. Normal women in other words (laughter).
“I like the idea that Code Eve features women that resemble me."
Have you faced situations where you have been treated differently because you were a woman?
Unfortunately, yes, on many instances in my past professional environment. It has never been too evident or direct, but you can feel it is in the air. As a private banker, I am responsible for managing my clients’ investments and make recommendations on possible future investments. I studied economics and graduated with the best grades. So of course, I love finance and analysis, but I am also a people’s person. What I like about my job is that it combines both aspects. At the beginning of my career, some of my male clients would not want to talk finance and investment with me and asked instead to talk to my male colleagues. They thought that as a woman, I was less proficient with numbers and analytics, I guess. Fortunately, I had a great boss who always managed to re-direct the client to me. When this happened, I always achieved to prove my skills and competencies and eventually build up a strong relationship with my clients, based on my excellent performance. But let’s face it, as a woman, I have to overcome prejudice all the time, while my male colleagues did not have to.
“Let’s face it: as a woman, I have to overcome prejudice all the time.”
It is not less disturbing when it happens in a classy or privileged environment such as private banking. Prejudice based on stereotypes about women happen everywhere.
What is you secret to find balance between your family life, your professional life and your personal life ?
I don’t know if I actually found the secret. But I had no other choice than to cope with the different roles in my life. I sometimes feel like a tightrope walker. I find my balance by progressing one step at the time, following the rope line that I know leads me to my goals and aspirations. I try not to look down and focus on the next step. Literally! (laughter). But sometimes it feels this balance is so delicate and fragile...
What positive piece of advice or encouragement would you give to other Code Eve women?
When they are discouraged, when they feel they have too much on their shoulders, I would advise them to talk to other women, friends, colleagues, family. They must remember they are not alone. We women are all facing these challenges and I believe we can find support, strength and inspiration one with another.
“When they are discouraged, they must remember they are not alone."
What is your way of being feminine?
Coming from Eastern Europe, wearing heels and having perfect nails is a must! (laughter). This shows I take care of me and respect myself. This is my expression of femininity.
“Would I feel less of a woman without high heels and a perfect manicure? Certainly not!”