INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY 2023 | #EMBRACEEQUITY
What does International Women's Day mean to you? International Women's Day is a day to reflect on the strength and sacrifices of women and what we share in unity, no matter our backgrounds, upbringing or where we come from. For me, it is also a day to recognise the disparities of opportunity stemming from the lack of education, health, and economic privileges for women and girls worldwide and reflect on what you can do to push for progression in your sphere of influence.
What stigmas or adversities have you experienced in your career, industry, or in life that you would like to see dismantled? Since launching my business in my late twenties and reaching my mid-thirties, the stigma surrounding myself as a businesswoman during my peak reproductive years has become an ongoing topic addressed to me - the questions, remarks, and unsolicited advice is wild. When my time is ready, I can't wait to be a mother, but I am not ready for children in my current season of life. Every woman deserves the right to make her own personal and professional choices (with love and acknowledgement to those who do not get a choice) about having children. There is so much stigma, trauma and emotion surrounding this topic at a general level for so many women - that it is just never ok to ask a woman, 'when are you going to start having babies?'
What is the action or decision you've made that you're most proud of? Launching my own business has been terrifying at times, but it is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I come from humble beginnings, and I hope I can inspire other people to follow their talents and grasp onto every opportunity that comes their way. I also operated my business in an entirely shut-down industry in a city that held the world's longest pandemic-induced lockdown. JOSLIN was only one year old when the pandemic hit. I am so proud of my strength and growth during this period.
What personal or career advice have you received that's been particularly valuable to you? I have received personal advice that it is sometimes okay to make a selfish decision to protect your mental health. Businesswise, it is standard advice, but it is painfully true. 'Always listen to your gut.' Whenever I don't, I almost always create extra hoops to leap through or mountains to climb.
How can women better empower each other to succeed? We must show each other empathy and strength every day and remember that we all come from diverse upbringings, have differing life values, and have all experienced different privileges and hardships in our lifetimes.
Why do you think diversity and inclusion in the workplace are so important? Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are essential; it reflects real life and the real world, it brings richness and creativity to all operations and is ultimately better for business and team empowerment.
What is one small act each can do that supports the IWD 2023 theme #EmbraceEquity? Nurture and mentor a young girl or woman you know, and let them grow with you. For those like myself, in a leadership or senior role, we all need to do better. Make it a goal to mentor and uplift a young woman in a marginalised position, encourage their enthusiasm, ambitions, career and education goals, and help them find their hidden talent. Celebrate their wins.
If you could have dinner with an inspirational woman, dead or alive, who would they be and why? My two grandmothers, Joslin and Emily. Joslin is my grandmother on my maternal side and passed when my mother was only fourteen years old. My parents made Joslin my middle name. Emily is my grandmother on my father's side, and she passed when I was a newborn. My parents made Emily my sister's middle name. Both women lived during very different times in the world for women, and I know that both Joslin and Emily made hundreds of daily sacrifices to raise their children. I have so many questions I would ask them and so much advice I would ask for. I know that Joslin and Emily were strong, nurturing and selfless women. Through the stories I have heard from my parents, I reflect on how far we have come as a gender and the opportunities I have today as a woman because they pushed for progression in their time. Sadly, we still have a long way to go so that women and girls worldwide can have the opportunities I have had with education and use my education to launch my career. Again, it is so important to reflect on IWD and acknowledge that there are women and girls worldwide that still do not have access to education.