Women In Tech On Celebrating International Women’s Day
March 8th has marked International Women’s Day (IWD) every year since 1910!
IWD celebrates the contributions and accomplishments of women all around the globe while calling for greater gender equality in the workplace and wider society.
At Get Online NOLA, we’re fortunate to have a team that includes six hard-working and talented women. This week we sat down and interviewed the women in our office to discuss International Women’s Day, being women in business, and more.
1. What does International Women’s Day mean to you? How do you celebrate it?
Erica: I have a large tattoo on my right arm that reads “feminist.” Over the course of my life as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and also as a woman, I have been the target of quite a bit of prejudice and hate. I have heard women say in the past that they don’t consider themselves feminists. International Women’s Day is a space to explain that feminism means we are all united, regardless of gender. It is a chance to have global conversations, to make connections, and grow towards a greater purpose for the world at large.
Serah: For me, it’s all about finding strength in who I am. Showing gratitude for all of my growth in the past year and acknowledging the small and big victories equally. I feel that showing my daughters both sides – the struggle and the strength – gives them the authority to be even more powerful.
Wendy: I am so excited by the number of International Women’s Day events that are on offer this year. I’ve already attended one and have three more in my calendar. To me, the day is about just that – women (and men) getting together to celebrate how far we’ve come and to encourage each other to keep pushing for more.
2. Which female leader(s) and innovators do you admire and why?
Allison: I admire Michelle Obama, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Malala Yousafzai, and so many more! But I’m also really feeling inspired by women shaking things up on social media right now. As a marketer (and in general) I spend a lot of time on social media and it’s not always a great place. People like Jameela Jamil are inspiring me now. She’s taking her time and her large audience to shine a light on how unhealthy social media can really be, and using it instead to highlight awesome women.
Erica: I have quite a few idols. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Michelle Obama, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Roxane Gay are just a few. I admire these women because with tact and poise they have made where they stand known. They are brilliant thought leaders in their respective industries that completely refused to take anything lying down. They are still fighting the good fight, despite spanning generations, varying sexual orientations, and races. They are representative of the type of leader I aspire to one day become.
Kristal: Maya Angelou was a leader in the women’s movement who has inspired me since I was in middle school. Through her powerful writing, Angelou used her voice to inspire generations of women and fight for women’s rights. Though she passed away in 2014, her timeless writing continues to inspire millions. In 2009, I was lucky enough to see Maya Angelou speak in New Orleans at the UNO Lakefront Arena. Other female leaders and innovators who inspire me are Maxine Waters, Emma Gonzalez, Janelle Monae, Ariana Grande, and Michelle Obama.
Lindsey: I have so many female role models, it’s hard to narrow down. Emma Watson, besides playing Hermione, who is such a great role model for girls, is an advocate for women’s educational rights. I love comedians who build up other women like Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Ellen Degeneres. Also, female artists are still very under-represented. Contemporary female artists like Kara Walker and Isa Genzken, along with the pioneers like Georgia O’ Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Louise Bourgeois, and Yoko Ono inspire me a lot in my work and career.
Serah: Ayesha McGowan is a total badass. She’s on a mission to become the first ever African-American pro female racer in road cycling. Representation matters in this and every sport.
Wendy: I was lucky enough to hear Sheryl Sandberg speak when she came to New Orleans in 2018 and was just as impressed with her then as I was when reading her books. She has carved out a unique position for herself in several male-dominated industries (finance, government, and tech) and has encouraged a myriad other women to do the same. She has also been willing to take criticism on board, especially from other women who questioned her grasp of “normal” women’s ability to lean in while managing a family/career middle-class wages.
3. What advice would you give to up-and-coming women who are trying to get in your specific field?
Kristal: Your own worst enemy is yourself. Believe in yourself and what you know. Apply for that impossible job, network with marketing experts in your community, gain as much experience as possible, make yourself more marketable with online certifications, and don’t be afraid to try new things!
Serah: Joining or developing your own community of like-minded women is going to be a major source of support, especially when endeavoring in a career or industry change. Networking is a scary word, but it’s really just making friends in your industry. I’m usually lurking near the cheese spread, so come say hi!
Wendy: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. There will always be someone smarter, more experienced and more confident than you but that doesn’t mean that you don’t bring something unique and valuable to the table. Waiting until you feel “ready” could take forever.
4. What advice would you give a woman struggling in a male-dominated industry?
Allison: Build up your support network, especially with people in your industry. There are always going to be people who will dismiss you or your work, so having a team of people to support you is a must. You can lean on them for strength and help when things are frustrating or unfair.
Erica: For a woman struggling in a male-dominated industry, like tech, I would encourage them to keep MAKING SPACE for their opinions, their ideas, their passion, their voice, their bodies, and their beings. Demanding and excelling in your respective industry is a great way to send a message that we belong here. Just keep rocking it, because where you are is already making a huge impact.
Serah: A lot of men (and, let’s be real, some women too) won’t understand what you’re doing. Be authentic. As long as you are true to yourself and your goals, you don’t owe anyone an apology.
5. What changes do you hope to see in the future for women?
Allison: I have a long, long list but I think we’re finally on the way! Getting more women into politics on the local and national scale is so important and we’re finally seeing that happen.
Serah: I’d love to see more women in politics. This year was a HUGE step in the right direction, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.
Wendy: My colleague and friend Lelia Gowland often says that women need to “work within the patriarchal system while simultaneously trying to change it.” This rings so true for me. So much of equality for women lies in a societal shift of men taking on what was formerly seen as female tasks such as childcare, cooking, and housework. When my two kids are grown, I hope that it’s perfectly normal for them and their partners to share the child-rearing, home-management, and wage-earning equally.
6. This year’s theme for IWD is #BalanceforBetter, a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world. How can someone help to achieve this?
Allison: Having a gender balance on a global scale is a huge endeavor. I think teaching, engaging, and speaking openly to children about equality right from the beginning is the best way to turn the tides across the world.
Serah: I think business owners should hire for diversity and skill over what’s just on the resume. For Get Online NOLA, this means that ALL of our employees are women. Wendy and I felt strongly that hiring women from all backgrounds would not only grow the business but also that women need representation in male-dominated industries, like technology.
7. If New Orleans put on a parade for International Women’s Day, who would you select as the Grand Marshall?
Allison: If we’re going national, Michelle Obama, of course! Locally, Mayor Cantrell!
Kristal: Leah Chase or Gayle Benson!
Lindsey: I would definitely love to see local female rockstar Tarriona “Tank” Ball from Tank and the Bangas.
8. What is your International Women’s Day anthem? A song that makes you feel empowered?
Erica: My anthem would definitely be “Holy” by Jamila Woods. “Woke up this morning with my mind set on loving me.” She makes me feel empowered every single day and enough just as I am. If you haven’t heard it, look it up. You won’t regret it.
Kristal: “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross or “Django Jane” by Janelle Monae
Lindsey: Pretty much any song by Lizzo. I saw her live last May and fell in love with her confidence and stage presence. Almost all of her songs are about self-love and body positivity. It is impossible to listen to her powerful beats and amazing voice and empowering lyrics and not instantly get into a better mood.
Serah: Needle and a Knife by Tennis.
9. What is your favorite book, blog, or podcast focused on women/gender equality/etc?
Erica: My favorite blog focused on women is “2 Dope Queens” I’ve been listening to this podcast since the beginning, but they have rightfully blown up. Now they have incredible people on the podcast and some killer interviews. Plus, they are hilarious. Perfect for a racially conscious outlook on how to empower women, and live an activist-oriented lifestyle while laughing all the way through.
Kristal: One of my favorite blogs is La Femme Collective. It’s an online community focused on highlighting “Entrefemmeurs” (aka any self-identifying woman who is forging her own path) and celebrating the career development of women!
Lindsey: I love the Instagram account @ExcellentCoatsOnIrritatedWomen. That is exactly what you think it would be. Feminist icons wearing amazing coats. I also like The Bechdel Cast Podcast which discusses the portrayal of women in movies.
Wendy: I’m a big fan of the podcast The Cut on Tuesdays for everything cultural and listen to Second Life, StartUp and Without Fail for business tips and encouragement.
Want to hear more from our team? Sign up for our monthly email newsletter and you’ll get their best business tips straight to your inbox!