8th March 2020 marks International Women's Day, when countries around the world celebrate the achievements of women and continue the fight for gender equality.
Here at Mention Me, we're lucky enough to work with many impressive women. While we firmly believe in celebrating them often, not just one day a year, we couldn't resist the opportunity to shine a spotlight on their achievements so far. We sat down with six female colleagues and clients to ask their thoughts on gender equality, women in the workplace, and the female taboos yet to be broken.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
"International Women’s Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and call out inequality. As a female entrepreneur and mum of two, I have felt keenly the inherent prejudice against women in positions of power and leadership. Over the years I've often had to work twice as hard to prove myself. Thankfully things are now changing for the better, but we still have a way to go and that is what this day is all about." Cécile Reinaud, Founder, Seraphine
"It's the time to acknowledge not only those who have been at the forefront of the fight for gender equality until now, but to stand in solidarity with those still fighting. In a world where girls can still go without basic education and are forced into unwanted marriages, it’s important to remember equality still has a long way to go." Victoria Harvey, CRM Manager, Elvie
"As a child, we always celebrated 8th March as back home [in Romania] it's also Mother's Day. It was really a celebration of women and mums and I remember the house would always fill up with flowers." Anca Filip, Head of Product, Mention Me
"Celebrating all women, and honouring daily and global achievements. Bringing more awareness to the conversation of inequality, and how we can all take part in closing the gap." Plyska Genova, PR & Marketing Manager, KOI footwear
"A lot! To me it's an opportunity to showcase women all over the world for their strengths and milestones that we have overcome socially, economically, culturally and politically." Salama Mohammed, Client Success Executive, Mention Me
"It’s a day when I reflect and remember all the amazing women I know and have known." Ursula Casserly, CRM & e-com senior coordinator, Benefit
Clockwise from top left: Plyska Genova, Ursula Casserly, Victoria Harvey, Salama Mohammed, Anca Filip and Cécile Reinaud
Which women inspire you? Why?
"My mum, every day!" Plyska Genova, PR & Marketing Manager, KOI footwear
"I look up mostly to the women in my family to know what I'm truly capable of achieving; like my Grandmother Mary who, despite getting a scholarship to Grammar School in Liverpool as a girl, had to drop out at the age of 14 to help earn money for her family. She went on to study Economics at LSE in later life, all while raising three children and working full-time. It makes me appreciate the opportunities her generation gave us." Victoria Harvey, CRM Manager, Elvie
"Serena Williams has become a strong representative for women both on and off the field. She's had racial/sexist slurs throughout her time in the media, yet has been able to build a strong brand and legacy for all women." Salama Mohammed, Client Success Executive, Mention Me
"I don't have a specific woman in mind, but since becoming a mum, I have huge respect for women who are fully accomplished professionally while keeping a happy family at home. I know the hard work that takes behind the scenes." Anca Filip, Head of Product, Mention Me
"I'm always inspired by successful female entrepreneurs, as I know the courage, conviction and hard work it takes to build and grow a brand. Arianna Huffington is one of my personal idols. I admire the way she has built up her businesses as well as her own personal brand, always embracing new ideas, opportunities and technologies along the way. Also for the way she now champions health, wellbeing and balance in business and in life." Cécile Reinaud, Founder, Seraphine
Which taboos relating to women do you wish were broken?
"Working for a company like Elvie, you get to see how many female-related health issues are still taboo, even those they'll affect all women at some point – 50% of the world! It’s mad how many women I know suffer from endometriosis, yet it’s not commonly discussed because it’s related to sexual reproduction." Victoria Harvey, CRM Manager, Elvie
"Since setting up Seraphine in 2002, I've been fighting taboos surrounding pregnancy and breastfeeding, especially in the workplace. At Seraphine we create stylish maternity and nursing clothes, designed to help women feel confident and comfortable throughout their journey into motherhood. Our collection of smart maternity workwear with easy nursing access is designed to empower women to make their own choices when it comes to balancing their work and family life." Cécile Reinaud, Founder, Seraphine
"That when women give their opinion - they’re being too emotional. More times than not, people mistake passion for emotion. This is a taboo that stops women from expressing their opinion to avoid being labeled “too emotional”." Plyska Genova, PR & Marketing Manager, KOI footwear
What advice would you give women entering the world of work?
"Focus on yourself, nobody else! You may have instances where you are "the only" in the room. This isn't a threat, it's an opportunity to show you can break the stereotype and be an inspiration for someone. You may be one already!" Salama Mohammed, Client Success Executive, Mention Me
"Always aim higher, no matter what you think you can achieve. Women tend to not recognise their worth and achievements the same way as men, and you won’t believe what you can accomplish until it happens (and sometimes that’s too late)." Victoria Harvey, CRM Manager, Elvie
"To not stay quiet! You’ve been hired into that position for a reason, engage with the conversation and don’t be afraid to give your opinion!"Plyska Genova, PR & Marketing Manager, KOI footwear
"Two pieces of advice: have faith in your own ability, and rest is just as important as work." Ursula Casserly, CRM & e-com senior coordinator, Benefit
"Find something you're passionate about and go for it! Stick to your guns and don’t let anybody hold you back." Cécile Reinaud, Founder, Seraphine