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Interview with Magdalena Linke-Koszec - Her Impact (Poland)

Updated: Jul 4, 2023



https://www.ey.com/en_lu/entrepreneurial-winning-women/emeia-class-2022





About Ms. Magdalena Linke-Koszec:

Magdalena Linke-Koszek is a young businesswoman, lawyer, author and lecturer and a Founder and CEO of Her impact - community-driven learning and hiring platform for women.

She is also a laureate of the Glamour Woman of the Year 2020 award in the Business category, one of the 100 Women in IT awarded by Perspektywy, one of the 100 Business Women awarded by the Puls Biznesu magazine and nominated for the ELLE Style Awards. Magdalena gained experience working as a lawyer in the European Parliament, Deloitte, Dentons and in various corporations in Europe and Asia.

She is a lecturer at the University of Oxford, UCL in London and a speaker.

In 2021 Magdalena published an e-Book "Let's Talk about HER Money" on a topic that is very close to her: investing in women and building financial independence.


Gender Equality Statistics:

Gender Development Index: 1.008

Gender Inequality Index: 0.109

Classification: The 2021 female HDI value for Poland is 0.878 in contrast with 0.872 for males, resulting in a GDI value of 1.008, placing it into Group 1.


 

Complete Interview With Ms. Magdalena Linke-Koszec


Juan Carlos Sola-Corbacho What are the most common stereotypes about women in in Poland?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec Other than simple things such as women are not good drivers, it is also expected that women at some age stop working. In fact, some 30-year-old women resign at that precise moment. Other than that, some people in Poland believe that women cannot assume the responsibilities identified with high positions. Obviously, these are stereotypes and I believe that women can do anything.

Juan Sola-Corbacho Do you think that those stereotypes have changed during the last years?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec I believe this is changing, at least in the case of the job market, above all in the case of big corporations. First, more and more women are deciding today to keep working instead of retiring to focus on domestic issues. And second, in many cases big corporations have realized what women can bring in terms of innovation, for example. They are offering more opportunities knowing what well educated women can offer. Other than this, big companies are trying to promote gender equality within their structures.

Tim Martin You say you started for Her Impact because you saw inequality, glass ceilings and other problems within business or in particular, Where did you find these experiences?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec I found it when I started working as a lawyer for a big company. I experienced this kind of situation there. I could see how many men and how many women were at the top, the differences in wages.

Juan Sola-Corbacho And when you were in college? Did you find gender inequality when you were a college student?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec This is very interesting, because I've never thought about that. I think that I didn't experience inequality in Poland as a student. Nevertheless, I had more male than female professors, and as you know they are our role models when we are students

Sahil Prakash Has gender inequality become more or less profound in Poland over the past several years? If that is the case, What has caused this change?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

I think that this is really a hard question. In this case it is important not to forget that we have more transnational corporations active in Poland, and with them more foreigners who are more open dealing with these issues. Inequality still exists, and we are more aware of that too, what helps to deal with that

Juan Sola-Corbacho

Poland is a member of the European Union. Is the EU promoting gender equality in Poland? Is the Polish government doing more about this than the European Union in your country?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

Unfortunately the Government in Poland is very conservative, and it is not doing much to promote gender equality. When I was working in the European Union I could find different groups trying to achieve gender equality. It does not seem they are working fast enough.


Tyler Dunn What about initiatives affecting negatively women's rights?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

No doubt, especially regarding women's health. For example, the new abortion legislation (one of the most restrictive in Europe). Other initiatives and ideas advocated by the members of the government and the party ruling in Poland have affected women's professional careers too. We have heard members of the government saying more or less clearly: professional women cannot be mothers at the same time. Even women's right to express by themselves has been limited. That same trend trying to undermine feminism has been undermining the work of women's organizations trying to help Polish women.

Christopher Nguyen So, in your opinion, what do you think are some solutions for maybe preventing or reducing gender inequality

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

That's a good question. Education is essential, it is maybe the most important strategy to accomplish that goal. Especially to teach how important is to employ women and to give them equal rights at work, including their right to be professional and mothers at the same time. It is also important not only to pass legislation to promote gender equality, but to implement that legislation. The implementation of quotas by big companies is another important way to achieve gender equality

Dr. Juan Carlos Sola-Corbacho Are women of your generation politically active in Poland? More or less than those of the previous generation?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

Women are getting more and more involved in politics. I think we can see how important is to speak out about our own problems, about gender inequality. It is interesting to say here from this view the role of NGOs in Poland is very important channelizing these women's efforts, denouncing and dealing with the most important issues and problems women in Poland face today.

Natalia von Gierke Why do you think financial independence for women, especially in Poland, is so important?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec It is very important, and I am working hard in Poland to make it into central issue. It is connected with women's freedom. And so far, it has been a taboo. Nobody wants to talk about this important issue. I am trying to make young girls see how important this issue is, and I am trying to give them some tips about how to find funds to become independent, how to create their own business, how to develop their own initiatives. It is essential to be sure about their future.

Dr. Juan Carlos Sola-Corbacho

In general, do you think that in Poland it is more difficult for a woman to create a business than what it is for a man?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

Legally there are no differences. It is much more difficult for a woman to find the money she needs to do it. And we know that that is essential. That is what we can find everywhere in Europe. There are few women who can find the money they need. It is a way to suppress women's initiative.

Autumn Rae Henry I actually have a follow up question. Women are active and they are working creating their own projects. Do you think that it will provoke a change in the attitude of the government?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec I'm not sure. Maybe with another government. In fact there are NGOs led by women trying to help financially other women trying to create their own business. And it is working very well in Poland. It would be much better if the government assumes its responsibility here too.

Autumn Rae Henry

What contributions do you believe causes the gender pay gap in Poland with young women when 43% of women have obtained higher level education compared to young men at 29%?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec There are a lot of well-educated women, and unfortunately a lot of them did not or are not going to work after they finish universities. Some of them are staying at home when they give birth, which is really hard. And we can see men who are not as well prepared as their wives who are working, and developing a professional career. There are many women accepting the situation. We are trying to make them see that it can be different. We are helping them to be prepared to go to the job market to get the job they deserve.

Brennan Herold Do you think that the way women have been treated in the workplace has been changing since you began working?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

I have seen changes in big corporations and small business. Even so we still have the same issues: pay gap, gender discrimination. It is very positive that women are now working hard to deal with these, but we cannot forget that to achieve that goal we have to change the whole socioeconomic system. It is difficult and it will take time.

Olivia Banks What advice would you give to a female college student who was interested in working the tech sector/a male dominated field? (Olivia Banks)

Magdalena Linke-Koszec First, try to know what you are good at, and if you feel comfortable about it. During these years in college, you have to learn about yourself, to know yourself, your skills, your abilities, those you can use in the future, those you should improve, and of course improve those skills. Other than that, I would suggest to work on your mental health, do not be worried about being yourself, try to be brave, assume that you can…

Jackson Philbrook Did you have a role model growing up or someone that you looked up to and found inspiration in that gave you motivation for your career?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

Other women. A lot of inspiration came from my bosses. Those I met working in the European Parliament. They were not very popular leaders, but they were very strong women with clear ideas.

Autumn Rae Henry Did you receive any support, and also any opposition when you were going against the grain and becoming an entrepreneur?

Magdalena Linke-Koszec

Above all at the beginning, when I have to talk with investors. I brought my project and my plan, but regardless how good it was, It was really hard because I needed to be very bossy, and also I needed to show confidence, and that is not easy, especially being a woman. It was also difficult to deal with the situation created around an interview with male journalists. Or even when I had to create my team to develop my project, I needed to sound convincing… And COVID19… But we are still here and I am very proud of what I have done so far, and now it seems that I am inspiring others

Chloe Tran What would you do to encourage and empower other women to break into the global market?


Magdalena Linke-Koszec

Organizing events online is always an alternative. That is what we have done helping women to develop the skills to become entrepreneurs. In these sessions we always refer to other female entrepreneurs that can be considered an inspiration.


Avery Jett Earlier you spoke about the inequalities you noticed while working as a lawyer. Now, since you have started your own business, How have you created a safe working environment for women in your office?


Magdalena Linke-Koszec

We were convinced of the economic costs of a lack of preparation in this area. So, we have invited experts to teach us about inequality in the workplace. It is important to discuss the issue to be able to deal with it. We have been trying to educate both managers and employees, and specially men. We have been trying to support our female employees too


Catherine Begun How have you learned to balance all the responsibilities associated with your position to be successful?


Magdalena Linke-Koszec

This is a question about priorities and teamwork. And from this view, I always try to be a good leader, somebody who is always available, thinking, caring, working with my team, offering a good example. I want everybody to perceive my commitment.


Sam Larsen Very often in the US, it seems that organizations similar to Her Impact that focus on helping women professionally tend to get stigmatized or stereotyped. Is there similar feelings and resistance in Poland? And if so, how are you attempting to distance yourself from that?


Magdalena Linke-Koszec

As I mentioned, we have a very conservative Government, but unfortunately we also have some young people, above all in rural communities, who are very conservative as well. They are not helping us much. So, we are trying to overcome the situation reinforcing our education initiative, above all in those rural communities. It is obvious, this is not the best moment for women in Poland, but there are many women like me, and we all together will try to change this situation.


Dr. Juan Carlos Sola-Corbacho Imagine, tomorrow you wake up, and somebody tells you: well, you are the new President of the Republic. What would you do with that new power? The very first thing that you would do with that power.


Magdalena Linke-Koszec

I would start implementing a program for women. Its goal would be to make them believe in themselves. It would be implemented in schools. We have to begin very early.

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