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I’m my skin color, my culture and my gender — but I’m also just me

11 avril 2024

Par Lingni Priestley

Lingni Priestley, a Director of Product Management for Elsevier's ScienceDirect team, enjoys Shanghai Disneyland with her daughter Freya.

Lingni Priestley, a Director of Product Management for Elsevier's ScienceDirect team, enjoys Shanghai Disneyland with her daughter Freya.

I worried that being a Chinese woman would cause people to stereotype me; then I realized that letting go of that worry was the first thing I could do to challenge the stereotyping.

Once on the school run, a mum asked me what I do. I mumbled about working for a publishing company in digital product development and that I wasn’t a software engineer.

“Admin then?” she immediately responded.

What would she have guessed if I were a White dad? I wondered.

I’m a Chinese woman who moved to the UK as an adult. ResearchS’ouvre dans une nouvelle fenêtre suggests that most widely depicted stereotypes of Asian women are “innocent and submissive” or “intelligent and hardworking.” In contrast, for example, popular portrayals of Black women are “angry” or “strong.” Such intersectional stereotypes of women have been shown to inhibit them from being hired into certain roles and hinder career progression.

My experience working at Elsevier over the past 16 years has only been positive. Not once was I judged by my gender or race. Yet for a long time, I’d still worry about first interactions with colleagues, client visits where I needed to make an impression, and the fact that I needed to be a bit more assertive when introducing myself.

The self-perception I had — shared by many young, bright and hard-working female colleagues at the crossroads of gender and cultural identity — is one of quiet confidence outwardly yet very vocal in our head about worries regarding career advancement and equal opportunities.

For many years at Elsevier, I went by the name “Laney.” It’s common for employees in an Asian branch of a multinational company to use an English name, perhaps as part of culture fit. A few years ago, encouraged by my manager, I changed my name back to “Lingni.” It carries my origin and the culture I grew up with and holds the life experience I’ve had up to this day.

The mum who stereotyped me needs to change, society ought to progress, and we can be proud of who we are at this moment.


Lingni Priestley is a Director of Product Management for Elsevier's ScienceDirect team.


Lingni Priestley

Director of Product Management, ScienceDirect


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