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Interview of the Most Inspiring Women for the International Women’s Day

UN Women announced the new theme for International Women’s Day as “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”. The theme celebrates the tremendous effort women and girls have put into an international scale, contributing to shaping a more equal world and recovering from the pandemic for a better future. We were keen to interview three unmissable, inspiring, and unique figures to know more about their involved work, positive visions and influent voices.
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© Noelann Bourgade

1. Kiara Nirghin

Can you present yourself in a few sentences? 

I am a scientist, innovator and author. Prior to starting college at Stanford University, I had won the Grand Prize at the Google Science Fair with my invention tackling climate change. Since then, I have used my platform to advocate for better female representation in STEAM, inspire the next generation of women to take up pioneering science roles, and push for better green technology.

 

What does "power" mean to you?

"Power" is having an idea and then having it manifest into the real world with impact. That inherently can be both good and bad. However, to me, this means that power is using your ideas and innovations and manifesting positive real-world impact.

 

This year's International Women's Day's campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge; what is your challenge?

My challenge is inspired by Astronaut and Physicist Sally Ride's quote: "You can't be what you can't see." I am challenging myself to share and learn as many stories of strong, impactful women as possible to hopefully showcase these stories and my own to younger women facing a multitude of challenges as they enter their own fields.

 

Credit: Instagram @kiara_nirghin

 

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of being able to have the opportunity to do research and learn, act on ideas and create things. At my core, I am an innovator. I love creating, dreaming and building. I see the world differently, and that's why I am hopeful in my generation. As Gen Z women grow up, we have hope. That is important and something I'm very proud of.

 

What do you think is the biggest issue women of your age are facing today?

Self-doubt. This idea of self-doubt is tricky because it is both self-imposed but also environmental in many ways. Young women need to truly believe in their capabilities to enact change. Now, not just joining fields that they have been underrepresented in, but pioneering them.

 

What message would you find important to share with young women thinking about their career? 

Your decision is essential. Regardless of the field, you choose to join, you will be in a position that finally has a female voice. Younger women will be looking at you as they grow up and see themselves in your position. Make that meaningful, in whatever way possible.

2. Emily Dougherty

Can you present yourself in a few sentences? 

I've covered the beauty, fashion and luxury industries for over 25 years as an award-winning editor and writer for ELLE and Harper's Bazaar. A few years ago, I mixed together a few lipstick bullets on camera and uploaded the video to Instagram. People found the sight and sound of the lipstick mix both addictive and soothing, and I became a minor star in the world of ASMR. One video showing two Dior lipsticks, reposted across so many other makeup accounts, received hundreds of millions of views. But even more important to me, I get many messages from people every day saying that the videos help them when they have a bad day - that my videos help them feel better, calm down, fall asleep. I like that my videos can make people happier.

 

Credit: Instagram @emilydougherty

 

What are you most proud of?

I love those antique French charms that say "+ qu'hier - que demain" So romantic! But also an excellent sentiment for other aspects of life. I'm the proudest of what I haven't done yet. It keeps me on my toes.

 

What do you think is the biggest issue women of your age are facing today?

I think women of every generation worldwide share the same issue: inequality, in all of its forms.

 

What message would you find important to share with young women thinking about their career? 

When my mom was in her 20s, it was all about landing the 'dream guy'. When I was in my 20s, it was all about landing the 'dream job'. I lived to work - I didn't work to live. The dream career today should be in service to your' dream life', a life where you have the freedom and the power to achieve your personal, unique dreams to find true happiness, balance, and fulfilment.

3. Pamela Badjogo

What does "power" mean to you?

For me, the real power is having the humility and the intelligence to recognize when stronger than us is in front of us or admit that we are wrong. Power, I also associate it with women, with the ability of a woman leader to speak out, listen to others, and decide.

The strength of giving way when it's time to give up, that's real power, and society should leave a little more places for women, in my opinion.

 

This year's International Women's Day's campaign theme is #ChooseToChallenge; what is your challenge?

I have several challenges. My first challenge is to succeed in obtaining enough funding to support the Karma school, a small school in Bamako, where we educate the little girls of the Bozos villages. It is people who live from fishing, and little girls are destined to become housewives in this village. With a few friends, we started this school. If this year, we could create a civic education kit in which children were introduced to equal opportunities and gender, we would have achieved something huge.

In terms of music production, this is another challenge because I chose to be an independent artist. I wanted to materialize the music as I hear it in my head, and I learned to play the guitar on my own and by being with all my peers.

 

Credit: Instagram @pamela.badjogo

 

What are you most proud of?

When I look at my little girl, she tells me that, even if I missed everything, at least I would have succeeded this. And what makes me proud is the fact, one day, of having decided to speak up and say "no", merely succeeding in saying "no", it's not won, it sounds easy, but it's not.

 

What do you think is the biggest issue women of your age are facing today?

We have to stop waiting for someone to give us the go-ahead. No one will give it to us.

Women my age has to stop waiting for someone else to solve their problems because no one will come and fix our problems for us. It's time to take charge of our destiny. Many are already doing it. There are more businesses run by women, initiatives created by women. Let us continue to self-empower ourselves. This is the only way we will earn the respect of our peers.

 

What message would you find important to share with young women thinking about their career?

We have to dream big, dream at the top, but that requires sacrifices, so we have to think and see ourselves as Humans, with a capital H, and fight for our dreams.

Everything has to be invented. Do not listen to people who tell you, "All sectors are saturated". The existing hierarchical sectors, of course, are probably saturated. Women are undoubtedly less likely to join them. Still, when we create our universes, we create our projects, our companies, our networks, our world, we have to think like a leader… the others will be forced to follow us.

 

 

Their honest perceptions, motivating thoughts, and optimistic insights encourage fighting for our rights and a better equal future…

…because since day 1, girls just wanna have funDAMENTAL RIGHTS!

 

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