I do wonder how much respect and power I have as a woman here in Europe? In the last ten years, I have encountered the most incompassionate, disrespectful men when it comes to doing business. I will be very specific. When I do business as a woman compared to my husband the inequalities are mindblowing. The European man mindset towards women is embedded and it not going to change anytime soon. As a woman in business, how do you behave and succeed against traditional men?

For the last 1000 years, us woman have been under the dominance and leadership of men. For me, I don’t see big changes.

It is a man’s world ladies.

Entrenched Inequalities

The pandemic has disproportionately affected certain groups, and poor social protection safety nets mean inequalities have been entrenched. There’s been a huge rise in poverty rates, especially in middle-income countries, while women makeup 39 per cent of the global workforce but account for 54 per cent of overall job losses.

The impact on children’s education has also been acute, and refugees, ethnic minorities and some 11 million girls are less likely to return to school post-crisis, driving a future shortfall in “human capital”.

Two days ago 68 girls were killed in Afghanistan. One survival explained, she believed it was an attack on girls seeking an education.

Mary Magdalene

Mary Magdalene, sometimes called Mary of Magdala, or simply the Magdalene or the Madeleine, was a woman who, according to the four canonical gospels, travelled with Jesus as one of his followers. She was the only person to witness his crucifixion and its aftermath. This message is so powerful. It clearly highlighted that Jesus included her as a powerful influencer in being part of his team to preach the good news. He is sought after her to be the woman to meet him first when he rose from the dead. Why did Jesus choose a woman to see him first? Equality and knowing she too was up for the job like his men. Jesus never discriminated against women at any level. So why today am I still being treated as a lesser equal here in Europe?

You see it in the way Jesus addressed his mother in a respectful tone “my dear woman” (John 2:4). 

Andorra Is Not A Place For Women In Business

I have lived in Andorra for ten years. The men treat women poorly. I have to say men over 55 years of age are the worse offenders. The simple reason is it’s culturally accepted. Andorra is owned by many rich men. Very traditional and when it comes to warmth, fairness and respect as a woman. It has to be the hardest challenge I have ever encountered as a woman. I grew up in rural Australia where women were treated unfairly too. But nothing compares to men in Andorra.

After ten years, I never got the respect of a woman in business. I was yelled at and bullied all the time when I fought back.

So if you choose to live in  Andorra. Women are treated by locals and men very poorly.  It has an old school mindset. It’s a principality of its own. This means you are under the mercy of their laws. Which is very biased and focused on men. Be prepared for some full-on arguing to gain any respect. I say step back and let your male counterpart deal with them.

You will never get the full respect as women in Andorra. It’s a cultural mindset.

Strong Women

In Andorra, old men could not handle me arguing back. They were so rude to me. They did not respect me as a woman. It came to a point where I had to step back and let my husband deal with issues. Fix the fridge, fix the oven. Also, could they fix the spa? In fact, it was never sorted. They simply did not care. When it came to getting my bond back. The injustice was unbelievable. The Andorra law does not favour renters. I know so many women just lost their bond.

A she-wolf is women like me that are natural fighters. We don’t take bad manners well. We respond back. We are leaders and can not tolerate injustice. For this reason, men will not handle this.

wool moss green gracie opulanza

Insurance Andorra

In Andorra, the court system takes years to resolve. For example in 2014, my house burnt down it was proven it was not my fault. It took five years to get our insurance money. The day I made it clear as a woman I would not be accepting their injustice. Was the day hell began. It was because I as a woman argued back.

The way the men treated me as a woman was just disgusting. The landlord to the insurance owners and workers showed no respect, compassion or empathy at all. They never did no matter how I responded.

My furniture was damaged by smoke. To my face, the men had no problem saying they will clean it and give it back. What they meant by that was. Wipe it down. Burnt furniture is toxic and it’s very damaging to one’s health. With insurance, it’s numbers and time game. So if you can afford to rebuild with your own cash. Then it’s worth the fight and stress. It was so stressful and cruel to have men just treat me like I was of no value at all.

They did not care that I and my family nearly died. They did not care that it took six weeks to clean out our stuff. We were not helped at all. There was no compassion, nor empathy and it did come down to we were international residence. It also came down to me being a fighter as a woman.

The moment I refused to take my furniture back. Was the day hell broke loose in my life for five years.

They stored and moved my furniture for five years. Damaged it even more. in the hope, I would take it back and drop the insurance claim. At one stage I got a bill of over 20,000 euro for five-year storage. Never ever sign or be bullied into agreeing to injustice. This is why I won. I never gave in to their wicked ways. I got bullied for many years as a child. I was the minority and treated like crap. It’s this hardship and experience that taught me to stand my ground and fight for what is right.

In the last few weeks, of a five-year wait, it was resolved. I never got fully compensated and it is one of the reasons Andorra for me is not a pleasant place for women doing business. I lost so many possessions and looking back the stress it caused was horrible. But I endured, grew from it and survived. Be prepared to walk away from injustice if for nothing more than your sanity and mental health. What comes around goes around.

I truly gave up after ten years to work with and engage with men on a business level in Andorra and I don’t stand alone in that as a woman. I did this for my own sanity. Go where you are treated best.

Tuscany Italy

Why is it that here in Tuscany some men can not handle my business savvy methods? Rich young men can not handle having any control over me? their mindset clearly taught by their fathers is worrying backwards. It’s all about control. This is where basic business experiences can turn very ugly quickly. Again the old school mindset here in Italy that women are incapable is very strong. So when a woman like myself, challenge simple procedures.  Like I am not paying for extra cleaning that was never communicated in my rental. The men go out of their way to bully you. Intimidate you and make you feel worthless. They can’t handle me fighting back. They deem it such a disrespect.

I have learnt from the past, to remain calm, ignore them and this really makes them very angry. They don’t behave like this with my husband.

It’s a man’s world ladies whether we like it or not.  I don’t see this improving anytime soon in Italy. Or regarding older men here in Europe.

Don’t give them power over you here in Italy. Stay calm, men hate it. Fight for what is right. Look them straight in the eye when arguing.

How Do You Choose Your Battles?

I have learnt to walk away and choose my battles. Recently a rich young Italian man just felt threatened by my social media expertise. He clearly had no clue how it worked, regarding business. I recognised for the sake of my sanity. I just simply let him believe he had control over me and walked away. That bothered him even more. It really was not worth the time or effort to engage with such an entitled rich idiot. He has a reputation for treating his staff poorly. I have seen this first hand too. Very common here in Italy.

If I want to get back at him in a professional way. It’s simple, I don’t recommend his villas.  This is very important especially I know they have had no bookings since September last year. The competition is harsh now. This is new territory here in Tuscany. In 2019, Tuscany was at the mercy of no one. They could name their price and have a short term aftercare mindset.

Now it’s a dog eat dog fight for bookings mentality. He truly is a fool. Pride before the big fall. Do not cut off the hand that feeds you.

You can always fight injustice in a silent way. Don’t draw attention to yourself where it is not needed.

You have nothing to prove when you are being mistreated as women. People in this pandemic are going to be very angry. They are looking for a fight. They can even turn violent. Women have been killed for simply responding back. Don’t react and run away.

With powerful women, some men just can’t stand it. They are intimidated by a powerful woman. I have been robbed of many opportunities by men not approving of my confident nature. Sadly in places like Italy and Andorra, this is the way it is.

There are good men and more opportunities will come my way.

My Strong Dad

I was bullied in Australia. My Italian dad always had to fight for justice and that was my example. That was my childhood. Fighting to be accepted.  So I have a personality to argue back when I am being mistreated. The injustice is too deep for me to always remain in peace. We as an Italian family put up with so many cruel and unfair behaviours. On many occasions, I just simply take it and walk away. It’s so upsetting but I am at a stage as a mother of two. To choose who I need to fight injustice against.

I have to accept that my personality and spirit aggravates. I am a warrior a pioneer of new creative things. For some men, this is just not going to go down well. Being at peace that I am a game-changer is why men are not going to like being showed up.

Stay Unique & Niche

Focus on positive experiences. Focus on the people who treat and welcome you the best. Walk away, build your brand stronger and live each day as it comes. There are the right men that will be your friend and team up with you. I have met those men. I can’t deny there will be many more men not respecting me as a businesswoman.  But I am ok with that. It’s all about how I choose to react?

Fiat 500 - Tuscany Lifestyle Tips Fiat spider classic cars Gracie Opulanza 2021 (7)

I am the very few women in the world that own a man’s magazine called MenStyleFashion. How empowering is that? Who is wearing the trouser suit now?

Jesus is my teacher and that is where my warrior spirit comes from.

The cultural attitudes toward women in Jesus’ day were deplorable. There was no such thing as equal rights. Women were treated as second class citizens. Until Jesus came along. He restored value to women and treated them with honor and respect. You can see that in the way Jesus obeyed his mother (and foster father Joseph) (Luke 2:51).

You see it in the way Jesus addressed his mother in a respectful tone “my dear woman” (John 2:4). 

Earl Spencer, Brother To Diana, Princess of Wales

The Telegraph UK today, clearly shows women of all ages and wealth are fighting against injustice. Dated systems that deny them of their inheritance.

Earl Spencer, brother to Diana, Princess of Wales, plans to leave the estate to his son, Louis, who will inherit the title despite having three older sisters. The eldest is Lady Kitty, 30, who suggested that her father’s decision was out of step with modern thinking.

“Primogeniture can be a tricky topic because as times are changing, attitudes are as well. We’ve grown up understanding that it’s Louis to inherit, and Louis will do an incredible job,”

she told Town & Country magazine.

Lady Kitty’s comments are the latest contribution to the debate over female heirs. In 2011, the 300-year-old rules of succession to the throne were changed to give equal rights to sons and daughters of any future British monarch. Had the first child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge been a girl, she would have grown up to become Queen.

Critics of the primogeniture system include Lady Kinvara Balfour, who called the system “archaic” and “absolutely mad”, saying it sent a message that “a daughter is a disappointment” and women are second best.
David Cameron, then Prime Minister, said at the time that “the idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter, simply because he is a man, just isn’t acceptable anymore”.
Now when it comes to fighting, this one would be worth taking it all the way to the justice system.