International Women's Day 2021: Choose to Challenge
While striving for equality can’t be boiled down to one day or month of the year, International Women’s Day provides us with a reminder to pause and take stock. In what has been one of the most unusual, hard years for all of us, the data shows it has been an even harder one for many women. So, to honour this day, we wanted to shine a light on some of the amazing women we have working for us at RingGo and let them share their ‘choose to challenge’ message.
Revathy Jeevanantham, Technology Manager, Lara Navetta, Head of B2B Sales and Lisane Harris, Senior Product Manager all took very different paths to where they are today.
“I grew up in a big family surrounded by strong women, but their strength was displayed in lots of different ways. Whether that was determination after a tragedy or being the glue that holds the family together, these women shaped me”, said Revathy. “That is not to say I always made choices that they agreed with. I wanted more and pushed the boundaries of what was expected as a woman. This is something that drove me to move to the UK, and despite the challenges I was faced with, I was able to start a successful career in an entirely new country. I had to persevere, and something that spoke to that drive was a phrase in my native Tamizh that loosely translates to ‘believe you can achieve, and you can achieve’.”
Lisane grew up dreaming of becoming “the first female Formula 1 driver…how my path changed! From completing a law degree to beginning my journey in product management, it’s fair to say my career has been a varied one.”
However, what has stood the test of time for each of these women is advice they got close to home.
“My aunt gave me a piece of advice at the beginning of my career that has guided many of my decisions – in order to be successful you have to separate emotions from the business decisions you make, but you still have to remain human,” said Lara. “That can often be a tricky balance, and being a straight talking South African definitely helps, but the key for me is to make decisions and then move on – dwelling on things is a waste of time and energy.”
“My drive has always been fuelled by my admiration for my mum, she managed what can sometimes feel like the impossible: balancing being a high-flying career driven woman in the corporate world with consistently making time for the family and being present, added Lisane. “The best lesson I learnt from my mum was that having empathy and expressing emotion in the workplace is a strength, not a weakness. I feel as though remembering to care can be forgotten in the tech industry, simply because of the nature of our work.
And each of them hopes to pass along messages of determination, solidarity and hope for the future to younger generations.
“For any women who are setting themselves big challenges at the moment, I would encourage you to figure out the small steps you need to get there and who can support you along the way,” encouraged Lara. “This is what International Women’s Day is about, women coming together and supporting one another.”
Lisane echoed this sentiment, noting “that empathy for others is a message I think really aligns with this year’s “choose to challenge” theme for International Women’s Day. We need to be willing to stand beside people who are going to challenge the status quo, and I think one of the biggest steps within the tech industry specifically is for men to combat the stereotypes around women in tech. Progress has been made, but there is still a long way to go.”
“As a woman in tech, I think the biggest barrier to the industry is actually instilled in us as children, said Revathy.” We need to make careers in technology appealing to little girls, to show them how exciting and accessible they can be. Once you hit university or first jobs, it is often too late to encourage a career in technology. It has to happen at a young age and women like me, in technology roles, need to step up to make this happen.”
We are proud to have these women, and many more, as part of the RingGo team and are committed to making gender equality in all areas of the business a priority, not just on International Women’s Day, but all year round.