March 8 marks International Women’s Day, which serves to drive action for gender equality, and celebrate women’s achievements. Every year there is a campaign theme to provide a unified vision and reinforce the meaning of this day. This year’s theme #BalanceforBetter calls for accelerating gender balance in all spheres of public and private life.
We reached out to five influential women within Payoneer, from a variety of backgrounds, to share how they will celebrate women’s achievements this year, while calling for a more gender-balanced world.
Priya Osanna Smith, Marketing Manager
I was born and raised in Pakistan, blessed with guidance from strong female role models in my life, all the while receiving exemplary support and encouragement from the men around me. While this may be true for many of us, there are still several, within our neighborhoods who are fighting for their own, every single day.
For gender parity to become our reality, we need to be standing tall, true and together – lifting each other up, celebrating triumphs and to start off, accepting the other as the person we see in the mirror every morning. We all have come a long way, witnessing the evolution of a global village into the world it is today – and is beautiful! Full of opportunity, abundance and with enough room to celebrate all humans irrespective of gender, cast and creed!
These are one of the best times to be alive in! With the rapid growth in digitization, access to instant information has led to an increased awareness of gender rights and the need to maintain balance for the greater good.
I believe we can surely reform societal bias by recognizing female empowerment, moving forward in harmony to go beyond and achieve that balance, for better!
Better the Balance, Better the World!
Tal Mickel, Business Analytics Team Leader
The Nigerian novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie once stated: “Culture does not make people. People make culture. If it is true that the full humanity of women is not our culture, then we can and must make it our culture.” In my eyes, in order to achieve gender balance, we need to take action and make it our culture.
In my life I was lucky to be surrounded by strong women, however, what I learned is that there is a fear to talk about gender balance issues openly. To put these issues on the table and recognize the difficulties it entails. We need to bring gender to our social discourse, to everyday conversations, to our coffee breaks. It needs to be present, in our work meeting, our political decisions and our public debate. I aim, every day, to create an open environment for a day to day discussions on gender-related issues and conflicts. I believe that we must raise awareness among our teams, friends and families. This way, we can and will make a difference.
In my own life, I practice the belief that we all need to have the ability to choose what is the women’s and the men’s place in society, regardless of what the status quo is or how we were brought up to think. We need to make sure that all people have the right to choose how to balance their personal and professional life, under the same terms and barriers. If we succeed in creating the opportunity and space for having open discussions about gender equality, we will make a big step towards equal consideration for both women and men, in whichever way of life they decided for themselves.
It is our mutual goal,
women and men, to create gender balance that will grant us the same opportunities. Achieving this goal will allow every person to fulfill her/ his full potential, and create a more innovative and diverse society, that will serve and empower humanity as a whole.
Britzee Capili, Head of Sales – South East Asia
I feel lucky to have the opportunity to work with colleagues who are consistently pushing for a gender-balanced workplace. When we push for gender equality, what do we mean? It’s important to define “gender-equality/balance” in our own terms, and align it with others.
For me, it’s not about equal distribution of roles in an organization. It’s also more than representation, especially in a position of authority. I believe gender equality has always been about giving equal opportunity for everyone, regardless of gender. At work, it’s giving anyone a chance to be evaluated fairly because of your output, effort and motivation – regardless of who you identify as. Do we judge someone based on their potential, output, and character without our personal bias getting in the way? Do we communicate openly, and give merit/criticism without gender-based assumptions?
These are never easy things do, as we all have our own biases to deal with, but we give it our best shot because it’s worth it. When we don’t limit ourselves and others because of gender, we are already doing more than our fair share of contributing to a more gender balanced world.
I wish to celebrate this special day by sharing encouragement, support and gratitude to all my colleagues in Payoneer, for going beyond our innate biases, and striving to give equal opportunity for all.
Micheline Hayes, Customer Care Case Specialist
Participation in the arts- whether directly or indirectly- is a major part of human nature, and I believe this translates to the progress we make in every field. Although there are artists of all genders, historically the vast amount of acknowledgement has been awarded to males. We have, in recent history, made strides in recognizing women in these mediums, however there is still work to be done. In mainstream media, the Academy of Motion Pictures has presented the Oscar for Best Director to one woman only, Kathryn Bigelow, as recently at 2010.
Living in NYC I have had the privilege of taking part in female-produced artistic and dance events where I have been able to bear witness to the level of diversity and inclusion that makes this city- and world- a magical place. I am also grateful that I work with a company that values this balance in all departments, including our incredible C-level executives.
This International Women’s Day I challenge everyone- myself included- to seek out books, movies, plays, paintings or any other type of art that tickles your fancy that highlights the female and minority voice. We can gain strength and create necessary change through seeing the world through all perspectives.
** On a more personal note, on March 8th I also celebrate the birth of my younger sister, who is one of the coolest, funniest and wisest women I know, whom I learn from constantly.
Sushmita Chandrawat, HR Business Partner
Celebration should be an outcome of achievement and it is important to highlight the progress made by women in various fields. The number of female CEO’s in Fortune 500 companies is increasing, the number of women in the workforce is significantly increasing, more women are joining the defense, taking up jobs in areas which were earlier primarily dominated by males and women are making records in the field of sports, arts, medicine & science.
On IWD, we should feel proud but at the same time, we should pledge to accelerate the progress. The onus of this is not only on women but equally on men. Change in mindset followed by actions is the first step towards building a balance. Men and women should believe in a woman’s potential whether at home or at work or any other place and maintain a balance in every aspect of society. A woman should challenge herself, be confident and believe that she can achieve much more. As quoted by Eleanor Roosevelt “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” women should be their own advocates and never allow anyone to underestimate them.
Women can contribute significantly and support the success of an organization. At the recruitment stage, interviewers should not ask gender bias questions. During the employee life cycle, there should be no discrimination in terms of opportunity or pay. We should review the percentage of women working in various departments and encourage diversity by hiring, developing, engaging, rewarding & retaining women talent. This will also lead to a competitive workforce.
At home, men and women should contribute equally, share responsibilities and support the success of the family & home. Inculcating the value of equality is crucial while parenting. Maintaining the balance starts at home and then extends to every part of the ecosystem.
The evolution of mankind in the true sense will only take place when there is equality in every aspect as this will lead to a better world and a better future for the next generations. Let’s all help create a “Balance for Better”. Happy Women’s Day! 😊