Today, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. I started celebrating this day when I worked for Avon Products in New York City. On this day in 2008, Avon partnered with UNIFEM to advance women empowerment and end violence against women.
I believe my past work experiences are what have made me a strong fighter for women empowerment and gender equality. I worked 40 years in IT, a male dominated field where I always struggled to fit in with my male counterparts. I recently saw Hidden Figures and it was like going down memory lane. The multi-level building where I spent all my time working on my masters in Computer Science only had one female restroom – and it was on the bottom floor. I learned to write code on keypunch cards and my first job after graduating was as a Fortran programmer for the Upjohn Company. In many of my classes I was the only woman, sometimes there was one other female grad student.
While working at Avon I really learned how important it is for women to have economic freedom. I can’t tell you the number of stories I heard from Avon Representatives around the world on how their Avon business put food on their tables, a roof over the heads, or allowed them to leave an abusive relationship. At the time I left Avon in 2015 this was the slogan plastered on our project room walls:
“This is the company that puts mascara on lashes and food on tables, that fights wrinkles with one hand and breast cancer with the other. That knows the value of a perfect lip, but still opens it’s mouth and speaks out against domestic violence and for women’s financial independence. This is the company that not only brings beauty to doors but also opens them.”
I am so lucky to be surrounded by strong, beautiful women.
Women who have cared fiercely for their families and loved ones.
Women who have strived to balance their work and their family needs.
Women who have struggled with self-confidence.
Women who have failed but picked themselves up and tried again.
Here’s to all the amazing, strong, and beautiful women in my life – I raise my glass to you🥂. Happy International Women’s Day.
LOOK GREAT | FEEL GREAT | DO GREAT!