Mondays are always tough because most of us are recovering from the weekend and for me, it gets extra tough because my Sundays are on (Yikes! I know right) but this Monday was super special because of the twitter chat with #BizGalz.
#BizGalz is a community initiative that started with a weekly twitter chat and has now turned into a thriving community of people who support the work done by women in all fields. The community does a weekly chat every Monday with a special guest and start a conversation about their area of work/expertise. The chat is co-hosted by two incredible creative ladies, Alissa M. Trumbull and Jade Phillips, both work in the digital space and are mighty good at what they do.
Back in October, I was asked by them to be the guest on one of their Monday chat sessions, we picked up a topic and scheduled the chat for 27th November, 1pm Eastern Daylight Time and 11pm Pakistan time. A lot of people contributed to the chat from all over the world and they answered the questions prepared by Alissa and Jade. The answers were really insightful and I found a lot of great ideas from that hour long session. This blog is for showing you the highlights of the twitter chat and I will be listing down the questions, my answers to them and also some of the best replies that I have seen on the thread.
Question 01: What advantages are there to women-focused groups?
A1: It is of utmost importance to keep the safe free from bullies, trolls and gas-lighters. In case of a report, make sure you clear out the situation. A community will only thrive when it has an open and free space. 2/2#BizGalz— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 27, 2017
A1: Interacting with other women, knowing them, sharing stuff getting help or helping others, it all boosts your confidence. And I think groups like these give you a level of comfort and motivates you to be better.#BizGalz— Zenab Saleem (@zenabSaleemKhan) November 27, 2017
A1) Advantages of women-focused groups: relatability and shared stories. There are situations that we encounter that ONLY a woman can truly understand. #BizGalz— Sonia Harris (@harrisonia) November 27, 2017
Question 02: What challenges do women face in championing their own work?
A2: Internalized misogyny is also a huge problem. We limit ourselves and listen to people who are only there to drag us down with their views and harmful narrative. 2/2 #BizGalz— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 27, 2017
Lots. Lack of confidence boosters, lack of promoters. A lot of leg pullers which may include other women as well, Male domination in workspace. #BizGalz— Shamim Rajani (@shamimrajani) November 27, 2017
A2) When others see women championing their own work, it can be seen as bragging. The same action by some men would be applauded and welcomed (or even expected). #BizGalz— Sonia Harris (@harrisonia) November 27, 2017
Question 03: Why are initiatives like @WomenInTechPK necessary?
Question 04: How can we all help to empower girls and women across the globe in their careers?
Question 06: How can men be champions for women-based communities?
A3: Initiatives like @WomenInTechPK give a platform to women to come forward, showcase their work, get professional networking & learning opportunities, & get access to the opportunities shared by the other group members. Finding mentors & sponsors is also a key reason.#BizGalz— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 27, 2017
To give Women a platform to speak out their mind, help and mentor each and other and share opportunities. #BizGalz— Shamim Rajani (@shamimrajani) November 27, 2017
A3 They help to create a space for women and girls who want to break into tough industries like STEM. It's so important to have a place to learn from & support other women #BizGalz— Jade Phillips (@lifeofaworkgirl) November 27, 2017
A3 Being around guys all the time can be exhausting and not everything what works for men works for us. So sharing strategies and resources is very useful #BizGalz— Sarah the Seasprite 🧜🏻♀️ (@xgebi) November 27, 2017
Question 04: How can we all help to empower girls and women across the globe in their careers?
A4: Encourage them to take up things that they are interested in, don’t push them to conform to stereotypes and help them find their tribe/community. Highlighting female role models, access to training and learning events can also help. #BizGalz— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 27, 2017
@BizGalz critical aspect is to identify women who are struggling with skill gap. You don't want them to slip. That's where women leaders can really step forward. Guide. Mentor. #BizGalz— sophia ahmed (@sophiaahmed) November 27, 2017
A4 We'd be better off realizing, in the words of Tina Fey, "You're not competing against other women; you're competing against everyone else." The more we support others; the better for us all #BizGalz— ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) November 27, 2017
A4 If you have an opportunity to share thought leadership (conferences, etc.), invite another women who's trying to make it, along for the exposure. I've done this for several yrs & it has paid off in so many ways #BizGalz— ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) November 27, 2017
Question 05: What changes would you like to see in the next 5 years for how women in tech are supported?A4 Be the person who's giving credit where it's due. Teach them to focus on lifting each other up, not competing #BizGalz— Jade Phillips (@lifeofaworkgirl) November 27, 2017
A5: I would like to see women in technology leadership positions, more women tech entrepreneurs, no wage gap and proper human resource policies in place to make sure that discrimination and harassment issues are handled well. #BizGalz— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 27, 2017
A5 5 year goals: #WomenInTech have a strong voice at the table, are in more leadership roles, and are paving the way to bring other women along with them. #BizGalz— Alissa M. Trumbull (@AnOrchidInBloom) November 27, 2017
A5: I think biggest change should be in two areas:— Benny Gelbendorf (@BGelbendorf) November 27, 2017
1. Providing more education opportunities to women accross the globe.
2. For some countries the change is much more basic, create equality between man and women#BizGalz
A5 More inspirational women leading tech organizations and making decisions to help those organizations #BizGalz— Mountain girl #MeToo (@SaimaKarim89) November 27, 2017
A6: Men can be champions for women based communities by being invested in the struggle for increasing diversity and inclusion in the tech industry/business. Men are our allies and we need to engage them in all gender equality and women’s empowerment initiatives. #BizGalz— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 27, 2017
Just by considering women as equally intuitive and smart human beings who can make intelligent decision that will actually work. Men can make all the difference just by changing their mindset and the way most of them perceive women to be second best. #BizGalz— Shamim Rajani (@shamimrajani) November 27, 2017
A6 Support the women in your circle, spread the word about their work, introduce them to people who can offer them opportunities & challenge those who try to bring them down #BizGalz— Jade Phillips (@lifeofaworkgirl) November 27, 2017
A6 When in a position to grant ops and funding, speak up for giving percentage to women-owned biz. Be #mindful of inclusion. Honestly, I think sometimes, the non-consideration of women is unconsciously done. #BizGalz— ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) November 27, 2017
Question 07: How can we do a better job of connecting each other to beneficial communities?Question 08: What women-based communities have you found to be most impactful on your personal and professional lives?
A7: Engage with people around you, practice good listening, show up to community meetings/events, be a mouthpiece (be in person or on social media) and be helpful to the community members so that they spread the word too. #BizGalz— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 27, 2017
A7 If you can't do a job but know someone who can, recommend them. It's all about opening doors for others #BizGalz— Jade Phillips (@lifeofaworkgirl) November 27, 2017
Stepping in for each other. Passing opportunities forward. Recommending talented women & upskilling those that had to take a career break. #BizGalz— sophia ahmed (@sophiaahmed) November 27, 2017
A8: @WomenTechmakers and @LeanInOrg are internationally known & I've found excellent resources from there. @WomenXPk is an amazing local community and it has helped me in pivoting my career. @SaraMuzzammil runs #Women4Women, its another excellent women-focused community #BizGalz— Faiza Yousuf (@FaizaYousuf) November 27, 2017
A8 One of my faves is @womeninTechNYC. They have monthly meetings, very supportive, great networking, & at different "worth-visiting" sites around the city #BizGalz— ShereeseM, MS/MBA (@ShereesePubHlth) November 27, 2017
A8 - There are a few that I've joined but I've found the #WomeninTechPK and the #WomenX Program to have had the most impact on my personal and professional life. #BizGalz— Shamim Rajani (@shamimrajani) November 27, 2017
The chat was surely insightful and I got to know so many wonderful people who care about the issues women face in the workplace and how communities can help them grow both personally and professionally. It is of utmost importance that we start constructive conversations around these issues and spread awareness that will further translate into meaningful actions. We need to find our allies and have them on our side so that we can deal with these issues head-on. Women bring in their unique perspective and extraordinary talent to the table and we all need to learn to appreciate it. I really appreciate all the effort put in by the BizGalz team and their kind invitation. I loved being a part of this conversation and I am really looking forward to the coming Monday’s #BizGalz twitter chat.A8: @WomenInTechPK has impacted me the most. Each and every person connected to this community is amazing :) #BizGalz— Zenab Saleem (@zenabSaleemKhan) November 27, 2017