Today marks International Women’s Day, a chance to champion and recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. Whilst it’s an important day to recognise success, it also provides an opportunity to raise awareness for equality.
Each year, there is a different theme for International Women’s Day, and this year the day is centered on the theme of Choose to Challenge. We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements and help create an inclusive world.
In the spirit of inclusivity, this week at Viva, we invited our team to celebrate International Women’s Day by reflecting on what each of us individually can contribute to drive this vision forward. We created a virtual Viva IWD board, allowing all of the team to share thoughts and pledges on how to make a more inclusive world. Equally, the team has also been encouraged to give a physical (or virtual hug) to the women in their life that they admire.
In light of IWD, two women in Viva’s team and champions on our IWD virtual board, Raquel Velasco (Head of Product) and Clare Burke (Senior Marketing Manager) have shared what International Women’s Day means to them:
What do you most enjoy about your role in tech?
Raquel: What I enjoy most is that my role sits at the intersection of strategy, marketing, and technology – and the complexity and diversity that brings to my day-to-day. I love that I get to draw on my science background, soft skills, and commercial experience to solve really important and impactful problems. I relish in using a variety of skills and tools to solve problems and both getting to think at a high level and at the same time rolling up my sleeves.
Clare: It’s amazing to be at the cutting edge of AI application in transport technology – I love seeing the practical benefits that this delivers, how what we do is helping authorities improve travel, infrastructure, connectivity and safety. And myth-busting, helping people understand advantages of our technology, whilst still having data privacy and a citizen-first approach at the heart of development.
What would be your advice to someone just beginning their tech career?
Raquel: Someone recently shared this quote from Marie Curie with me that I think is fantastic: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Be curious and explore that curiosity. And, choose companies and teams that empower and celebrate diversity of all kinds!
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
Raquel: For me, International Women’s Day is a chance to celebrate the incredible contributions that women have made across all aspects of society, which unfortunately too often go unnoticed. It’s an opportunity to shine light on amazing role models that we all need and should be top of mind for everyone.
But it’s also about drawing attention to the inequality that still exists and the struggles that are unique to women in particular. We must acknowledge the great strides that have been taken but not lose sight of the long road still ahead.
Clare: Well, firstly it’s a day to celebrate the achievements of women collectively and how we’re making a difference across all aspects of life. But it is also really important to increase visibility of issues that continue to exist and highlight actions we can all, not just women, take to combat discrimination and help achieve gender parity and equality.
Which woman do you find inspiring?
Raquel: Jocelyn Bell Burnell – An amazing trailblazer in Astrophysics and also a fellow at my college at Oxford. Sara Blakely – Founder of Spanx epitomises grit, tenacity, and creativity. My mom – She is smart, kind, nurturing, and tackles any problem head on.
Clare: Billie Jean King, for many reasons – not only a powerhouse athlete (39 grand slams) but a ground-breaker for equality in sports, winning the ‘battle of the sexes’ tennis match against Bobby Riggs. She also helped address imbalance by threatening to boycott the 1973 US Open if men and women winners were not paid the same – with the US Open becoming the first major tennis tournament to offer equal prize money! She was also key in the creation of the Women’s Tennis Association and has continued to break barriers, promoting equality, diversity and inclusiveness throughout her life.
If you’d like to find out more about how you can make a difference on International Women’s Day and beyond, please visit the website here.