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International Women’s Day 2021

#choosetochallenge #IWD2021

Women in Tech forum is celebrating the successes of women around the world past and present, and taking action for equality.

From the women who campaigned for women’s right to vote and equal civil rights; to Marie Curie – the first woman to win a Nobel Prize for pioneering work in the theory of radioactivity’ to Ada Lovelace – the first computer programmer, all of these women pushed the boundaries and changed the world as we know it today.

Today we #ChooseToChallenge the structural biases in society and strive to create a world where every voice is heard and everybody feels included. To continue inspire you all we have collated an array of content from our community members, sponsors and partners to showcase the achievements of women across the tech industry.

Social Conventions

What is a social convention? It is something which is accepted as normal and aspired to by many. Think marriage, career, love, happiness. Some of these are abstract like love whilst others are clearly not.
International Women’s day is a day that champions females across the globe for their various personal and professional achievements. But we need to recognise the setbacks that modern society perpetuates that uniquely challenge girls and women’s feelings of security, worth and independent decision making.
Social conventions manifest themselves more readily to young women and girls around the world who may not have anything else (education, wealth, social capital) to fall back on. Patriarchy is very cunning and one of the ways it oppresses women is by appealing to women to self-oppress. It does this by tapping into one of our greatest fears as human beings: not fitting in and standing out as a failure. This is why many girls internalize misogyny. Many girls believe that for them to be truly happy they need to utilize their reproductive labour (giving birth and child rearing). By making all of the above gender roles the norm, many females internalise singlehood as a culturally deviant failure.
So success is relative to each woman’s cultural, social, economic and spiritual context. We can not create a culture of exclusive ideology. I urge you to be critical of what we admire as success for a woman and what conversations we may be too scared to have about singlehood.

Written by: Umra Hayat

How men can help to support women in the workplace and beyond: Championing Women

Today the 8th of March marks International Women’s Day 2021 and what a better day for men to choose to challenge and to champion women in the workplace and beyond. First, however, let me give a brief definition of who and what male allies are. Male allies are “members of an advantaged group committed to building relationships with women… understanding the social privilege conferred by their gender and demonstrating active efforts to address gender inequalities at work and in society (HBR 2018)”. By this definition male allies are a part of an advantaged group that are aware and actively seeking to put right gender inequalities that occur throughout the whole of society, whether in a workplace or at the comfort of one’s home. This short piece will look at how male allies can stay aware, reflect and challenge unconscious biases and simultaneously understand why it is critical to promote and champion Women everywhere.

It is a known fact and not an assumption that Women typically downplay and underestimate their professional and academic achievements and accomplishments. Whilst their Male colleges and classmates typically exaggerate and overestimate theirs. Thus, for Women highlighting the psychological phenomenon that is Imposter Syndrome. The term Imposter Syndrome means that “people are unable to internalise their accomplishments” (Psychology Today) and did you know that over 6 in 10 Women suffer from Imposter Syndrome in the UK (HR News 2019). Therefore, by championing Women and sharing their accomplishments you’re helping them raise their brand, status and most importantly their confidence. A boost of confidence does everyone a world of good so why not champion, praise and promote Women’s successes.

Furthermore, it is paramount that Women have a seat at the table but of greater importance, Women need a voice at the table. This consists of giving equal opportunity to speak, not speaking over them and ensuring that there is an inclusive environment for personal growth and development throughout the workplace and amongst the whole of society. It has to be said that tremendous gains have been made over the past decade in progressing Women’s leadership, which has been widely recognised. For example, the growing number of women elected to political office and women heads of states receiving praise for their effective handling of the pandemic. More recently, high profile glass ceilings being shattered with the election of Vice-President Kamala Harris in the USA (Antonia Kirkland 2021). We must come together, united and champion all Women and their achievements, not only on the 8th of March, but rather every single day. 

By choosing to challenge this will drive positive change for all women, it will create a more inclusive and equal environment and society. By championing women, you choose to challenge.

Written by: Saum Roohani

A post celebrating the most impacting and inspiring women doing amazing work in their relative niches

1)    Margaret Ackah–Yensu. Ghanaian and British-trained aesthetician. She uses her country’s traditions and is the co-founder of the all-natural beauty line Tulii Skincare. Tulii Skincare shares Margaret’s personal connection to nature, healing and wellness giving a healthy contrast to today’s toxic beauty industry.

2)   Haben Girma. Born and raised in Oakland, US with family roots in Eritrea. The first deaf-blind student to graduate from Harvard Law School. A trailblazer for deaf-blind students who passionately advocates for them being included in the technology, education, and media sectors.

3)   Dr. Judy Dlamini. South African Entrepreneur, Author and Philanthropist. Founding chairman and Doctor of Business Leadership. Growing up facing poverty, her parent’s entrepreneurial spirit made her resilient and empowered her. She says: “I grew up in Westville near Durban, at a time when it was a crime to have my complexion. Yet I was raised by parents who encouraged me to pursue my education and who told me I could be anything I chose to be.”

4)   Samantha Musa. Popularly known as MisRed, she is a Zimbabwean radio personality, social influencer, philanthropist, and brand ambassador. She has presented on local television as well as MTV African Music Awards. She partners with corporations to launch campaigns around female empowerment and has partnered with a Zimbabwean organisation called Girls Are Us who mobilize sanitary products for girls in rural Zimbabwe.

5)   Summers Mckay. CEO at Optimist Daily. Business executive who creates loyal teams who love their jobs. The Optimist Daily aims to create an optimistic, mobilized, and solutions focused global society, making the world a healthier place for all.

These are just some of the talented women doing amazing things across their fields to raise and empower women. 

 Written by: Umra Hayat

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