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Article: International Women's Day - #InspireInclusion

International Women's Day

International Women's Day - #InspireInclusion

“Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” - Mae Jemison, first African American woman astronaut in space

The theme of this year’s International Women's Day is #InspireInclusion, and seeks to help forge a gender equal world. The steps to accomplish this:

When women aren't present, we must ask: "If not, why not?"
When women are discriminated against, we must call out poor practice.
When the treatment of women is not equitable, we must take action.
And we must do this each time, every time.

According to the International Women’s Day website, "To truly include women means to openly embrace their diversity of race, age, ability, faith, body image, and how they identify. Worldwide, women must be included in all fields of endeavour."

As I think about bias in the workplace, there is no industry where gender bias is more apparent than in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), where women make up only 28% of the workforce. 

While I chose a career in the business world, I have always been fascinated with science, math and medicine, and chose to minor in Calculus in college.  And my two daughters have been drawn to the sciences, one has an undergraduate degree in neurobiology and the other is finishing up hers in environmental sciences. During separate conversations with both of my daughters, they brought up the lack of women in their chosen fields. My eldest daughter recounted how she had not had a female teacher in her major, and my younger daughter spoke of presenting at an international science fair, only to see the male judges ignore her project and instead, focus on the projects with male exhibitors. I am on the one hand shocked and amazed that such bias and underrepresentation still exists today, and on the other hand I am not surprised.    

As the founder and CEO of a certified-women owned sunscreen company, I ask you to join us in celebrating and promoting women in STEM.  I realize that all progress is made in incremental steps. Yet I see those steps being made.  As I look across our direct supply chain, it is filled with women. On our almost-all-female team, I see a female fulfillment manager, brand manager, chief of staff, bookkeeper, customer service representatives and social media experts. And there are the female chemists who develop our products, graphic designer who creates our packaging, account manager who oversees our product production, PR team members who promote our product, freight broker who ships our product, and women-owned and run companies who complete our pre-market and post-market testing.  And I remain hopeful as I see women helping us move forward, one step at a time. 

I, along with all the women at Brush On Block, ask you to do your part in helping create a world where women are equally recognized for contributing to the success of their families, society and the world, and join us in celebrating the achievements of women everywhere. And we encourage you to recognize and honor the women who are important in your lives, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day.

#InspireInclusion Pledges

These are steps you can promise to take to help all women feel included.

  • I will call out gendered actions or assumptions.
  • I will celebrate women's achievements.
  • I will forge positive visibility of women.
  • I will challenge gender stereotypes, discrimination and bias.
  • I will maintain an inclusive mindset.
  • I will try to inspire others about inclusion.