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In a men's world

Three days ago I had a meeting downtown LA in Angel City Brewery. Many people, many discussions. A young woman explained to me the difficulties she had to justify herself in a profession mainly represented by men. She is a graphic designer. 

I told her how I have been working in Muslim countries and how I got my very first big job as a web designer in France. I had an invitation for the biggest IT job fair in Paris, and when I arrived close to the fair, not even inside, I saw only men in black walking in the street. Black shirt, black jacket, black pants, black shoes, black ties and black suit cases, all heading to the fair gate. I realized that I probably had nothing to do there because I was dressed all bright in blue. This kind of azur blue.


With my little blue snickers, blue jacket, blue pants and blue shirt, I decided to merge in the middle of the cloud and take a line for the cloudiest booth. That was my first experience in a job fair, and my first experience looking for a job as an IT.....? I did not even know what I was really doing, but I could hear the other guys talking and they never talked about their school, their graduations, their diploma. They were talking about their experience, "I can do this or that". 

In fact, many things they could do, I had learnt to do it too and I felt suddenly that I may had I found a ladder. My turn arrived and I explained my experience. The guy who interviewed me asked me what I could do best. At this time of my young age, I had found a way to convert videos with a double compression ratio using two different codecs and Quicktime. This way, I could stream non stop on a 56 kbps network. Two days later, I received a phone call, had an interview and was hired by the International Union Against Tuberculosis as a webmaster. 

I worked for two different departments, computing and communication and I had the chance to be in charge of their graphic charter and their website. For 4 years, they had tried to remodel their website and nothing never ever happened. The computer team was at war with the communication and the external company in charge of the website could not communicate with both. Here I was with my small blue snickers, an electron in the cloud. I solved in two months their biggest challenge and got both the graphic charter and the architecture of the website approved by the international board of directors.

There is not really any frontier to be a woman and as I told this young lady, I never ask permission. Don't ask permission, just do what you think you have to do. In Muslim countries, I have always given the best of myself and I had in return the best of the people too. As an architect, I have always given the best of myself and I have won a lot from it. As a carpenter, I don't question if I shall or not be a carpenter, I just do. I can read blueprints, make blueprints, buy wood and hardware. I can use most any tools and give precision to my work. I am skilled with geometry and have a good understanding of a structure. That makes me the person I am and it has nothing to do with my gender.

Sometimes I am strong, sometimes I am weak. Sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry, but I have been a soldiers' godmother and I know that soldiers cry too. I don't ask permission and I don't try to excuse having emotions, sensitivity, passions and compassion. I have learnt from both, men and women and I am grateful for having received from both, but what I am has really nothing to do with weather I am a man or a woman. What I am is the person who can solve the problem of someone else with the knowledge and the experience I have.

While I was in France, I have been interviewed many times about my work and I really never realized how women where questioning their career until I had my first patent. The young lady in the brewery asked me how I got this freedom, where did I find the strength to be the way I am, and you know what's so funny, I got it from all the macho men who tried to stop me. I always compare my life as a long walk on the water. The water is cloudy, the water is black, and I don't have to drown inside. I can just walk above and find my way. I have always believed that women sensitivity was a skill, not a weakness. I have always believed that not being so strong was a way to become smart and as I told the young lady while sipping my beer, you know what, "men never read the manuals". Once a woman can put a shelve together on a wall, she is more skilled than any man in the world.

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About E.B

Eima BLANK is a designer and a rewarded entrepreneur who started a career as an ethnographer in 1992, was graduated in architecture in 1995 and is now experiencing her passions as a carpenter and a craft woman. She has directed wood construction projects from 2010 to 2015. She is the author of several books and studies about wood construction and the economy of forestry. She has also won several concourses for her innovations on wood and fabric construction. Her drawings entered an army museum for her sarcastic humor, she has a model house in another museum and she is a member of the ADAGP and the ARS for the management of her artist and designer rights. She is also an occasional cartoonist, what she carries on her smile.
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