Celebrating Bold, Creative Women: International Women’s Day 2017

The annual International Women’s Day celebration is a way to keep gender equality front of mind for everyone, across the globe.

It also provides us with an opportunity to stop and take a moment to reflect on the achievements of women across social, political, economic and many other fields. This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) is March 8, 2017.

Of course, diversity is something that we’re thinking about every day, but to celebrate this year’s IWD theme of #BeBoldForChange, we’re thinking about what ‘bold action’ means to us, and celebrating women in creativity and design.

Ideas from creative women 

Danya Azzopardi (left), and Zoe Pointon (right).

Looking for expert insight? Here’s a few of our favorite recent interviews and articles from women in the creative and design community:

UX designer Danya Azzapardi on hackathons:

“The hackathon is a powerful tool for disruption and reimagination. It provides an excellent opportunity to network with talented individuals. A hack can be geared at anything – tackling specific problems, empowering certain groups of people, improving a particular business or driving positive social change, or simply providing an opportunity for people from different walks of life to come together to work and achieve.”

Software engineer Aimee Lucido on diversity at Uber and in tech:

On some level, we realize sexism exists. We realize racism, agism, homophobia, xenophobia, etc etc etc exists, but until it hits in our backyard, it’s hard to internalize it.

Engineer Samantha Black on running remote teams:

There may never be the perfect tool for your remote team, but having good tools is a crucial part of growing a successful remote team. New tools are being released every day, and even the ones mentioned above are evolving rapidly.

Community manager Erica McGillivray on planning a community:

Every brand has a story. Every brand has a reason it was founded other than making a profit. Inside this story, a light can shine on why people feel affinity for your brand. If you don’t know the lore, time to meet with someone who does. These stories explain a company’s greater purpose and can give deep insight into everything from what your community will solidify around to how you might deal with moderation.

Venture capitalist Tiffany Zhong on being a 19-year-old VC:

Have strong opinions, weakly held. Have thick skin and be fearless.Jump into Twitter conversations where you feel like you don’t belong, ask questions even if you think they’re stupid, generously give your ideas to others, share unique perspectives on topics, have conviction, and express your thoughts even if they may be wrong.

Designer Lisa Campana on being head of design at MOO:

Design is about working with people and helping to improve the way people interact with and view the world. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with some amazing people on some really game changing projects and those challenges kept me inspired.

UX designer Havana Nguyen on speaking up at meetings:

Now, I do believe there is some gender bias in the workplace but sometimes, women do things that also hold themselves back. The majority of women I know tend to be a bit more cautious, calculating, and agreeable. While I think that those are good qualities, it also can make women appear less knowledgeable or less of a leader.

Designer Debbie Millman on launching a successful podcast:

I have a hard time taking no for an answer. I often ask more than once for something, even if I’ve been turned down. I will ask a different way, or wait a bit of time before asking again or find a more creative way of manifesting a YES.

We asked our team: What would the world stepping up to take bold action look like to you?

“What would be bold? In the words of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, we should all be feminists. Believing in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes should not be controversial. Yet the ‘why?’ argument still takes up so much space. When Justin Trudeau shifted Canada from no. 20 to no. 4 in the world in terms of the percentage of women in ministerial positions, his answer to the ‘why?’ of creating a gender-equal cabinet was perfectly succinct: “Because it’s 2015!”. In other words, we know what diversity, inclusion and representation bring to the table, so rather than debate equality, let’s get to it.

TL;DR: we’re on the right track when we no longer consider it bold to achieve gender parity within a cabinet or board, or protect global access to family planning services, or get tougher on intimate partner crime – and instead consider these steps toward equality par for the (very important to society) course.”

– Jacqueline Bublitz, Customer Experience Team Leader

“We know that the global economy will benefit from a more equal representation of gender in the workforce. An article published by the World Economic Forum reinforces the belief that productivity and economic growth occur when we empower women and support them to lead. I think that’s best achieved through a multi-faceted approach, with access to education for women worldwide, increased internet access, and more mentoring programs for women in business.”

Abbie Burgess,  Diversity & Inclusion Advisor at Envato

“If we want a different future, we need to look to future generations. As the parent of two young boys, I would like to see them learning now about the fundamental equality and dignity of all people. This message should be coming to them in parenting, in school, from role models, through television and gaming, and across every touch point they encounter. Bold action would see anyone involved in the lives of children taking this responsibility with enormous weight.”

– Collis Ta’eed, CEO of Envato

“Quotas. Start with parliament, move to big business and take things from there.”

– Nat Manidis, Author Success Manager at Envato

“Bold action from the world would look like a real insistence from governments and organisations that there be equality in representation for women. I think it’s the best first step, making it a priority to recruit and elect women, into positions of influence in numbers like those that reflect the population. To see this globally would definitely be “stepping up”, as it’s still common to see media reports of not only in equality around the world, but the outright oppression of women.”

– Adrian Fittolani, General Manager at Envato


For more about women in tech and design, check out our reading list, or browse our interview series on women in design. 

Brittany Jezouit

About the Author Brittany Jezouit

Brittany is a Contributor to the Envato blog. She helped launch the publication and was its founding Editor. You can follow her on Twitter @brittanyjezouit.