For Marta Herraiz Fernández, life is good. As proud new mothers to their two-month-old daughter, she and her wife are busy adjusting to the new routines of parenthood that babies inevitably bring with them. Happily, Herraiz Fernández feels the childcare is truly shared in her home, unlike the majority of new parents, who often struggle with an unequal division of labor once kids come along.
“It is less of a challenge than the typical heterosexual couple, because when you have two women, there are no pre-designated roles for either of them. So my wife and I do the same things and we are very interchangeable. I think we make a great team,” she says.
There is certainly a lot to juggle. As the founder of LesWorking, the first international professional network for lesbian women, and co-general director of REDI, Spain’s first inter-business network for diversity and inclusion of LGBTQ+ employees and allies, Herraiz Fernández is a formidable leader and activist in the LGBTQ+ community. Her work has enabled both organizations and LGBTQ+ workers to engage in positive discourse that has resulted in better workplace environments for them.
REDI’s work entails advocating best practices and the promotion of inclusive and respectful working environments for LGBTQ+ people within business organizations in Spain. Within three years, the organization has grown from less than 20 to currently more than 100 corporate members, including well-known multinational brands Procter & Gamble, Microsoft, and Pfizer.
Herraiz Fernández’s motivation to create these organizations and champion LGBTQ+ causes is based on her own experiences as a young woman who struggled to come to terms with her sexuality against a backdrop of heterosexual hegemony.
“It took me 30 years to understand and to accept myself. I was not a rebel in any aspect of my life, so I struggled. But also there were no visible role models around me and that is what made me decide to do what I do. I want to dedicate my time to making sure that nobody feels like I did when I was struggling with myself for simply loving the people I love,” she says.