March 8 marks International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge.
Why #ChooseToChallenge? It’s simple: because we can all choose to challenge gender bias and inequality. That can mean speaking up when we hear a friend say something offensive, or calling out harmful stereotypes when we see them. It also means challenging the status quo by making room to celebrate women’s achievements.
So to mark International Women’s Day 2021, we asked ten Linktree staff members to tell us about the woman (or women!) that helped them through a challenge, or gave them the courage to challenge.
From famous comedians and judges to best friends and family members, they’ve talked us through a list of downright incredible women. Read on to meet them.
Paul — DevOps Engineer
In 2017 I was offered a copy of In My Own Words. I instantly became engrossed in the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a strong female voice in a culture steeped in inequality.
RBG was unabashed in making her view heard on the Supreme Court, bringing light to the constitutional barrier of discrimination on the basis of sex. In her book I found a voice of my own — one that was no longer dismissive and one that was vocal in challenging social injustice.
Ana — Social Media Manager, Brazil
It’s a bit of a cliché but my Mom is one of the women who taught me not to fret in the face of a challenge. Through her journey, she showed me you can be a good, grateful, strong and positive woman, even when everything else is falling apart.
Alongside her, my best friend Aline is an example of overcoming what we think is right just because everyone else does it. We challenge each other in our ways to see the world, and in my opinion this is one of the greatest gifts of friendship: nothing stays the same forever, but our capacity to be stronger, to change and to evolve is bigger when together.
Camille — Customer Escalation Officer
Who does a challenge better than Celeste Barber?
In addition to her record-breaking fundraising efforts for bushfire relief last year, her #CelesteChallengeAccepted Instagram posts are a complete joy: Challenging our perceptions of what a body “should” look like, encouraging us to be comfortable in our own skin and providing a welcome contrast to all the unrealistic, heavily filtered and edited images on our feeds.
Eibhlin — Front End Engineer, Ireland
This theme immediately brought to mind my best friend Sonay Sevik.
What I love about Sonay is that she is constantly challenging and inspiring me to be a better version of myself. When we have discussions I feel like my thoughts and biases are being challenged in the best way and she always brings to the table an intelligent and insightful perspective.
More specifically though, Sonay definitely helped me overcome a challenge early in my career. When I was starting out as a software engineer, like a lot of people, I really struggled with imposter syndrome. I met Sonay when I started working at my second job where she was also an engineer a few years ahead of me. I think just seeing her confidently excel at her work gave me a path to look towards and encouraged me to believe in myself more too.
As they say, you cannot be what you cannot see, so I feel super grateful to have met and worked with Sonay and even more grateful for our friendship.
George — Strategy & Operations Manager
I have to say my Mom for this one. She set a fine example for me and my five brothers and sisters to #ChooseToChallenge the status quo.
Incredibly, my Mom managed to raise six kids while also juggling a brilliant career in journalism including as a speechwriter for some of Australia’s most high-profile members of parliament. I often think back to my childhood and wonder how she did it all especially because we never went without.
She always supported us to play sports, learn instruments and spend time with friends — every day she managed our co-curricular activities alongside her busy work schedule and then whipped up an excellent lasagne.
I am so glad she has taught me, and continues to encourage me to pursue a career and raise a family side-by-side. This is the example I want to set for my daughters.
Jeremy — Product Growth Lead
When I joined Bandsintown back in 2017, I came to the table with a million product ideas and absolutely no understanding of how product decisions were made, which resulted in me being a horribly inefficient communicator and an ineffective agent for change.
My boss Jackie recognized my enthusiasm, and devoted a ton of time and energy to channeling that enthusiasm into something that could actually make a difference in the product — she helped formalize a channel for providing and acting on product feedback, regularly invited me into conversations with key decision-makers at the company, and always made herself available as a sounding board to bounce new ideas off of.
But most importantly of all, Jackie pushed me to be critical of my own ideas and to weed out the bad ones early. She challenged me to consider each new product idea I had with a combination of business savvy, empathy, and patience, and with her guidance I eventually managed to successfully translate some of my ideas into tangible improvements to the Bandsintown platform.
Jackie set me up with the tools I needed to #ChooseToChallenge the status quo in the tech world, and I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today without her.
Alaina — Talent Acquisition Manager
I don’t have quite the right words but I’d most definitely say my Mom. She has helped me #ChooseToChallenge some of the traditional norms of our Lebanese culture.
She’s always listened with an open mind and allowed space for my sister and I to step away from some very old-fashioned ways of viewing the world. She set the example herself but she also allowed us to push further, wherever we felt necessary.
Bec — Product Manager
I only began to outwardly challenge inequality as an adolescent, and felt safe to do so because of the support of my powerhouse mother and all the strong women in my life. The women in my life continue to grow and change, but it’s always their support that gives me the courage in personal or patriarchal challenges.
This Rupi Kaur poem resonates with me — the sacrifice and example offered by others gives me courage and strength to do the same.
on the sacrifices
of a million women before me
what can i do
to make this mountain taller
so the women after me
can see farther”
Rosyll — Lead Data Engineer
For as long as I can remember, my Mom has been with me through everything — constantly inspiring and encouraging me.
She is a very strong woman, and I grew up seeing her challenge the “normal”. Coming from a conservative family in South India, she was the first woman in the family to do a lot of things — to get a job, to drive, to be independent, to wear western outfits and to marry a man of her choice.
She has taught my sister and I to stand up for ourselves, pushed us to do more, given us the courage to fight anything that comes our way and march ahead. More than anything, she has taught us to lead with kindness and empathy.
I am the person I am today, because of her. If there is one person I look up to and truly, truly admire, it is her and I wish I’d grow to be like her.
Pascal — UX Designer
My mother and grandmother. Both of these women always gave me the courage, freedom and guidance in life to focus on the things that I cared about and to ignore the expectations people and society put on you.
Their influence gave me the life full of creativity, adventure, assurance and happiness I have today.