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Alumni Stories: Campaigning for Gender Equality

Karolina Wezyk graduated from ASW in 2012. She visited the school this year on International Women's Day to talk to students about gender equality. Here she shares her story.

Karolina Wezyk at the American School of Warsaw in 2017

What did you do after ASW?

After graduating from ASW, I lived in Milan, where I studied International Economics, Management and Finance at Universita Commerciale di Luigi Bocconi. After my freshman year, I received a job proposal from a Brokerage House in Warsaw. Soon after that, I returned to Warsaw to work as an analyst at DM Vestor (later as a Management Associate at S&P Global Ratings) and complete my Bachelors degree remotely. In practice it was far more chaotic than it sounds... Bocconi has 5 exam sessions per academic year, each session is 2-3 weeks long and there is a limit of 20 days of annual leave. So... in order to limit my office leave, I took a couple of flights for each exam session... basically, in and out... catching up on emails while en route to school. Thankfully, I managed my time well and graduated on time.

What career are you following now?

I currently work at S&P Global Ratings as EMEA Sales Associate. I plan to stay in Financial Services for a while, apply for an MBA and ideally get involved in Politics.

What are your views on gender equality?

Gender equality will reshape the world we live in. Currently, we are pressured to fit in one of two boxes, which limits our personal and professional potential. If we achieve gender equality, each of us will be free to express true-self... a concept, which remains exotic to most of us. In my mind, gender equality will free us from expectations, biases, stereotypes, discrimination and even violence. Besides the obvious social, emotional and physical advantages from individual liberty, there is the $28 trillion global GDP uplift by 2025 to think about...We would redesign how households, companies, governments and societies operate.

Did your time at ASW shape your views/beliefs today? If so, how?

ASW is an amazing school. My parents' best investment :) After graduating and entering 'the real world,' I realized how many schools around the world do not teach students about the concept of equality. Gender equality is not an easy concept to accept and support for individuals, who were not raised in an environment, which nurtures such an idea. I believe the way to go to achieve gender equality is to ensure that more and more schools adapt a similar approach. Schools need to change their attitude and accept the fact that they are responsible for raising the future generation so they need to raise awareness about such significant issues. This 'brainwash' would trigger a global virtuous cycle.

Why did you decide to organise this event for ASW?

I decided to start my HeForShe campaign in the friendliest environment... As I mentioned, the concept of gender equality is not new to the ASW community.

What would you say to girls graduating this year?

To all girls, boys and undecided - be yourself and spread the word. According to recent studies, given the development in our communication model, it will take only 4 individuals (your friend, friend of your friend, friend of the friend of your friend, friend of the friend of the friend of your friend) to introduce you to ANY person in the world. So I know it may sound too optimistic but you do have an impact. We have wider social networks than the generations before us! So... if you want the world to become a more equal place - talk to people, ask questions, challenge existing models, don't be afraid to fail, leave your comfort zones... If we adhere to walls, which limit our potential, the wall will still stand. We need to exert pressure on limitations... at some point of time, when enough pressure is exerted, this wall will crumble. Hopefully.

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