Equality and Inclusion: Women of Selzy Share Inspiration

Equality and Inclusion: Women of Selzy Share Inspiration
29 February, 2024 • ... • 2936 views
Diana Kussainova
by Diana Kussainova

Women’s rights and liberties were never a given, and the fight for them continues. That’s why International Women’s Day is not only a worldwide celebration of women and their achievements, but it’s also a constant reminder of the importance of inclusion, equality, and societal shifts. 

We asked our women colleagues at Selzy to share what the occasion means to them, what their thoughts and ideas about inclusion (especially in the workplace) are, and who inspires them. Read this article to hear the voices of women in digital and get motivational quotes to help you move forward.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated worldwide on March 8th. The holiday originated in the early 20th century. It was closely connected to the suffrage and labor movements and was later adopted by the feminists. In 1977, the holiday was officially recognized by the United Nations.

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Source: Giphy

The nature of the holiday is double-sided. In many countries, Women’s Day has a political impulse and is used to attract attention to the topics of equality, inclusivity, bodily autonomy, violence, and others. At the same time, in the US it’s a celebration of womanhood in its many different forms with International Women’s Day marketing campaigns. With Women’s Day emails and powerful Women’s Day subject lines, brands show their support and appreciation towards women.

In this article, we tried to reflect the complex nature of Women’s Day. We looked into what Women’s Day means for modern women and put 2024’s theme of Inspire Inclusion into context.

The significance of Women’s Day

Women’s Day might be an internationally recognized holiday, but is it important to modern women, and how so?

In some countries and cultures, the date became associated with femininity and surprisingly perpetuated stereotypes and limitations. Still, the original meaning of Women’s Day shines through.

Daria Zhuravleva
Daria Zhuravleva

Selzy blog and digest Editor

I’ve always thought of it as a somewhat manufactured holiday since there’s been a lot of conservative discourse around me since like primary school. I mean, stuff like “girls, happy Women’s Day, please keep being beautiful objects that us boys can enjoy”.

Due to that, Women’s Day still has this gross aftertaste, even though I know its history. But, if anything, this kind of discourse basically proves the need for this holiday as a trigger for discussions on why women’s societal role is not limited to “a sexy lamp”.

Daria Vakhonina
Daria Vakhonina

Partner Network Growth Manager

In my culture, this day has always been about women’s fragility, tenderness, and beauty. People always wished me to stay beautiful, be humble, and smile more. Thanks to the internet, when I grew older, I discovered the true meaning of this day for women’s society. For me, this day is a celebration of our fight for the future and the progress that all women are capable of achieving.

International Women’s Day is also an occasion to celebrate the many roles women play in societies: skilled workers, artists, politicians, scientists, caregivers, and many many more.

Valeriia Dziubenko
Valeriia Dziubenko

Business Development Manager

I believe that International Women’s Day is an excellent way to remind of the many roles women play in society and how much better these roles can be played when women are happy with what they get (equality, respectful attitude, honoring of their particularities).

Eliz Sena
Eliz Sena

Social Media Creator

International Women’s Day is very significant to me. When I was younger, I didn’t understand the importance of a celebration like this. However, I realized that several movements have been emerging and gaining strength, especially to highlight women and their capabilities, as well as their achievements. Today, I see that this date goes far beyond a simple celebration. It serves to show us that we have a voice and we will not be silenced.

And last but not least, Women’s Day is a holiday to reflect on our self-image and get inspired and share inspiration with others.

Evgenia Budrina
Evgenia Budrina

Business Development Manager

It’s not like I celebrate the IWD but the topic itself matters a lot to me. In my life, it has occurred to me more than once that I ended up doing what I thought was not possible for me as a girl. These cases made me realize that I’m actually much more influenced by stereotypes than I thought I was.

I used to be a copywriter and in a matter of a couple of years, I switched to being a business owner and started to do (and enjoy!) things I never thought I’d be able to do. This experience taught me that you should listen to your deepest inner thoughts and your fears: your true ambitions might be hiding somewhere there and you need to find bravery to let them come to the surface.

Inclusion: A work in progress

The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is Inspire Inclusion. This phrase is meant to guide people toward creating an environment where women are present, have equal rights and opportunities, and are able to contribute.

A GIF with a description for the word inclusion from a dictionary
Source: Giphy

Some of the women in Selzy believe this is a powerful message.

Daria Vakhonina
Daria Vakhonina

Partner Network Growth Manager

I think the whole point of the holiday is encapsulated in the word “inclusion.” This is its mission. For me, the theme of Inspiring Inclusion is more about the fact that any activity in this direction is already a great step for our community. Not everyone has the opportunity and ability to go to protests and marches, and in some countries, it is also unsafe to do so. Feminism can take many forms. Any word spoken in support of women, in the presence of other women — even this small step can be enough to inspire inclusion.

Eliz Sena
Eliz Sena

Social Media Creator

I believe that inclusion is more than necessary for us to have gender equity in all possible areas. It is very gratifying to see that society as a whole is increasingly addressing topics like this, which are so important for our development and empowerment.

The inclusion itself, however, can be a challenging concept both to grasp and to use in action.

Evgenia Budrina
Evgenia Budrina

Business Development Manager

I’d say, in my country, women’s inclusion is actually happening but the stereotypes are still strong, especially in women themselves. For example, a woman might be both full of career ambitions and waiting for a man to provide for her and to open the door for her.

Valeriia Dziubenko
Valeriia Dziubenko

Business Development Manager

To be honest, I’ve tried to get the idea, but I can’t say I understand it fully. However, as with inclusion overall, I believe it should be natural. Thus, I think that, for sure, it would be great to create conditions that facilitate women’s needs in all the places they want to belong to. At the same time, I’m not sure we should artificially include women where they don’t want to be. (I hope it makes sense).

Equality and inclusion in the workplace

One of the areas where women are facing inclusion and equality challenges in the workplace. In some professions like IT, the stereotypes might still be present. And even if a profession is welcoming to women, they can feel excluded by their colleagues or management. 

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Source: Giphy

Some of our colleagues believe there are no universal solutions to such a complex problem. 

Valeriia Dziubenko
Valeriia Dziubenko

Business Development Manager

I’m not sure there’s a unified solution. I believe it’s a matter of communication, anyway. Depending on specific conditions and circumstances, different places need different measures to be introduced. I think the main point here is to ask certain groups’ opinions about what they lack for their inclusivity in their places and make changes accordingly.

At the same time, a well-designed and functional professional support structure can truly make a difference for people.

Evgenia Budrina
Evgenia Budrina

Business Development Manager

I think having a strong HR department is the key here. Inclusion won’t happen by itself, someone needs to lead the process if there is such an initiative.

Eliz Sena
Eliz Sena

Social Media Creator

Working with “blind” selection processes, that is, unique and exclusive analysis of the resume can help cultivate inclusion and equality in the workplace. In the moments of dynamics, using AI or even something less elaborate, so that the recruiter cannot distinguish between genders, and choose according to the best cultural fit.

But corporate isn’t the only source of progress. Likeminded women in different areas can create communities that truly inspire and promote inclusion and representation.

Daria Vakhonina
Daria Vakhonina

Partner Network Growth Manager

I love the trend of women creating different communities in different career fields. One such community is Women in Tech — a global movement that aims to empower women in the tech industry and provides opportunities for women to speak on various topics related to the tech industry. It so happens that the majority of leaders in this field are men. But we should not forget about the few women who are successful in this field, and they are able to guide the new generation of women in tech to even more victories. We need such communities to share experiences and support each other. This makes us stronger and gives us the opportunity to change the internal culture of tech companies, in which the role of women will only grow in the future.

Women who inspire women

Another component of the Inspire Inclusion slogan is inspiration. So we asked the women of Selzy to name some of the women who they look up to.

A GIF of Nicole Kidman saying “Support other women”
Source: Giphy
Daria Zhuravleva
Daria Zhuravleva

Selzy blog and digest Editor

Siouxsie Sioux, Stevie Nicks, and Lana Del Rey would probably cry tears of joy if they knew how much they did for me as a singer. I learned some techniques through their songs, both by self-coaching and in voice classes. I got songwriting inspiration from them. And, finally, all these wonderful, talented musicians made me more comfortable with my femininity.

Also, since I became a keyboard player in my life partner’s band, I’ve been thinking a lot of Tina Weymouth. During the new wave times, the fact that a woman is in a band and not a lead singer/sex symbol but a fellow instrumentalist (and an important one!) was kinda revolutionary. In my partner’s project, I feel like I’m performing the same role — away from the spotlight but take me out of the equation and you lose half the essence. I’m almost a gray eminence!

Eliz Sena
Eliz Sena

Social Media Creator

I bring with me two extremely powerful, strong women who symbolize the personification of the ideal woman. The first is the director of the school where my children study. She raised 4 children while working for a large publishing house, transitioned her career and became the entrepreneur she is today, with 2 businesses running simultaneously, in addition to always being up to date with her studies.

The other is a businesswoman who was born into a humble family and knew exactly what she wanted for her own life from a young age, and so she did, without neglecting motherhood.

Besides those having the same passion and ambition, our colleagues are inspired by the strong historical figures who were able to survive in trying times.

Evgenia Budrina
Evgenia Budrina

Business Development Manager

Lately, I’ve been reading memoirs of women who survived Stalin repressions, GULAG, etc. This is a topic that interests me a lot. To me, these women are truly inspiring. They showed that you can actually not only survive but also learn new things and develop even in unimaginably hard times like the 1930s and 1940s.

Valeriia Dziubenko
Valeriia Dziubenko

Business Development Manager

If talking about celebrities, the woman coming first to my mind is Queen Elizabeth II (rest in peace, Your Majesty). Watching all “The Crown” episodes led me to conclude what a complex, powerful, strong, and, at the same time, vulnerable and tender personality she was. I believe this is an excellent example of what contradiction each woman carries inside. 

Yet, in real life, my aunt is the woman who inspired me to be what I am today. Since childhood, she gave me a clear understanding that we deserve what we desire and can get what we deserve, whether we have enough background for it or not; keep trying and working hard to find yourself where you want to be.

Women of Selzy recognize how influential a family member or a close friend can be, and how women can uplift each other. It’s important to remember — when women are truly present and able to express themselves freely, it can inspire other women. Even in our day-to-day lives, we can still create a positive influence and make someone feel more confident and motivated.

Daria Vakhonina
Daria Vakhonina

Partner Network Growth Manager

I am inspired by all the women in my life: my colleagues, friends, and family. I see their drive, their ambition, their desire to make a difference. It is so inspiring to see that this spark of ambition never fades, that they are always ready to stand up for each other, help each other, and support each other. It is like creating an endless circle of inspiration, where each woman in the chain inspires another. It is a wonderful feeling to be a girl’s girl in a woman’s world.

Quotes that keep us going

Not only other women can inspire but also the thoughts and quotes of others. Here are three quotes that help our colleagues move forward. Maybe these words can become your motto or source of motivation as well.

A GIF of Gabby Sidibe saying “Pay no attention to “No”
Source: Giphy
Valeriia Dziubenko
Valeriia Dziubenko

Business Development Manager

I’m not sure whether it’s a famous quote from some prominent person, but I often remind myself that everything happens for a reason, and we always get what we deserve. It helps me easier accept things that can not always be pleasant along with great ones, which sometimes can be even harder to accept due to this so popular “impostor” syndrome.

Eliz Sena
Eliz Sena

Social Media Creator

“Just keep going.” This phrase is not from any particular writer, however, I always think about it when I am going through some difficulty or thinking about giving up.

Daria Vakhonina
Daria Vakhonina

Partner Network Growth Manager

“You don’t have to prove yourself every second of every day. You are already enough.”

This quote is by Brené Brown, a professor and author who often talks about empathy and courage.

For me, this quote is a reminder to sometimes stop and give myself a break. In the pursuit of constantly trying to prove to myself and others that I am worthy, I sometimes fall into a pit of burnout and depression. At such moments, I remember this phrase to remind myself that my existence is already enough proof that I am “already enough.”

Daria Zhuravleva
Daria Zhuravleva

Selzy blog and digest Editor

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report written on birds that he’d had three months to write, which was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books about birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

I came across this “parable” several years ago, not knowing it was by Anne Lamott at that time. But “bird by bird” has almost become my motto — and this mindset helps a lot with pulling yourself out of the procrastination rut. The main gist is, sometimes you don’t need to see the full picture. In many cases, it’s more productive to tackle the picture in question “bird by bird”, day by day, task by task.

Words of inspiration

Last but not least, we asked our colleagues to address you, Selzy readers. We want you to soak in these words and feel empowered and cared for. We want you to know that you are not alone. We share many of your struggles and try to do the best possible thing — one “bird” at a time.

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Source: Giphy

One thing our colleagues shared was that we are capable of more than we think — we are capable of everything we dream of.

Valeriia Dziubenko
Valeriia Dziubenko

Business Development Manager

It’s always important to remember that you can do and get everything if you desire it. I sincerely believe that even with all its imperfections, the modern world gives enough opportunities for everyone to rise and shine.

And the way to achieve your goals and fulfill your dreams is simple — start with what you’ve got and keep trying even if life or others try to bring you down.

Daria Zhuravleva
Daria Zhuravleva

Selzy blog and digest Editor

God, I’m not good at this… But okay, let’s give it a shot.

So, I’ve been writing songs since my teenage years, and here’s one thing that I learned along the way. Hear me out, there’s nothing more useful than writing bad, awful, cliche, uninspired songs. The point is, even the worst thing you may have written contains at least one good idea — it can be a chord progression, one catchy melodic phrase, a particularly inventive rhyme, or a beautiful metaphor. Save these good ideas and use them next time in a better context.

I guess it’s relevant to other creative work (and work in general) too — bad things you create are just “prototypes”, and you can’t make a good thing without making many bad things.

Eliz Sena
Eliz Sena

Social Media Creator

Wise is the woman who builds a ladder to success using the stones that were thrown at her in an attempt to knock her down.

Last but not least, listen to yourself. Whether it means not succumbing to societal pressures and finding your true calling or simply taking care of yourself. And remember that your unique voice matters.

Evgenia Budrina
Evgenia Budrina

Business Development Manager

Figuring out what makes YOU happy is the key. Be it writing code or taking care of 3 kids, doesn’t matter.

Daria Vakhonina
Daria Vakhonina

Partner Network Growth Manager

Take care of yourself, your psychological and physical health. You don’t need to work yourself to death. Most likely, there is already a person next to you who is inspired by what you do.

Article by
Diana Kussainova
Writer, editor, and a nomad. Creating structured, approachable texts and helping others make their copies clearer. Learning and growing along the way. Interested in digital communications, UX writing, design. Can be spotted either in a bookshop, a local coffee place, or at Sephora. Otherwise probably traveling. Or moving yet again.
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