"Women have to free ourselves from the 'imposter syndrome'"



The imposter syndrome is what makes you believe that you do not deserve what you have, "a more widespread sensation among women than men" and from which "we have to free ourselves", according to Cristina Villanueva in "Unfolding Candles", a book about the difficulty of succeeding in a world of men.

Cristina Villanueva is a well-known journalist who presents La Sexta Noticias del weekend and who had previously been in charge of the news programs of La 2 and on the Teledeporte channel of RTVE.

"Unfolding Candles", her first book, is the result of a personal search that began eight years ago, shortly after her first daughter was born, when she began to feel the 'glass ceiling', which she prefers to call "the sticky floor" , paraphrasing the filmmaker Icíar Bollaín.

With the birth of her daughter, Villanueva suffered a personal crisis that led her to undertake an internal journey, from which she has emerged reinforced and convinced that her crisis is not only personal, but shared with the rest of the women.

"Women carry an extra weight, because the truth is that being a woman remains in this world of men, and they had not even told us," she says.

In his opinion, this burden becomes more difficult to bear at the time of motherhood, because "we always struggle between being perfect mothers or perfect professionals, and in some of the two facets we feel the guilt."

At that time in his life, when his "gender wounds" were most stinging, Villanueva read the book of Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's operational director, about her experience at the head of one of the most important companies in the world.

This reading was revealing and decided to look for Spanish women who had triumphed in different sectors, to know how each of them had managed to navigate against the current.

Thus began a series of interviews with the filmmaker Icíar Bollaín, the former ING Direct delegate in Spain, Carina Szipilka, the trial pilot, enduro and rally raid Laia Sanz, the director of the National Center for Oncological Research (CNIO), María Blasco , and the exmilitar Zaida Cantera

The experiences of these women intersect in the book with those of the author and draw a map of the different paths undertaken by women who have reached their professional maturity in the 21st century and have refused to surrender to the evidence that machismo is still in force.

"In this system led by men, it is possible to find whoever holds your hand at the beginning of your career, but then you do not want to let go, they treat you like a minor eternally and they do not let you fly, and the reason is that men prefer to compete with 50% of the population, that is, men, than having to do it with 100%, that is, men and women ", denounces.

The methods used by society to leave women in the background are of all kinds: sometimes rude and other subtle; and among the subtle Villanueva highlights the "impostor syndrome" that makes women themselves put barriers.

"Women work harder and work harder because we are always afraid of not being up to scratch, and anyone can convince us that we are not prepared for a position because, at the bottom of our being, we feel that way too," he warns. the journalist-

"But if you overcome the 'imposter syndrome' and opt for the position, you can see that there are a lot of men who present themselves with less requirements than you, and also with less complexes," says Cristina Villanueva.

Therefore, Villanueva encourages women to continue fighting because "by force of generations in which women have had to do double to receive half, now we can not expect to go out only to draw."

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