Intl Women’s Day 2018! Payoneer women leaders share their thoughts on #PressforProgress
March 8th, 2018, marks the global celebration of International Women’s Day.
This year, women’s issues have taken the spotlight more than once, including the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements and the World Economic Forums’ Global Gender Gap Report showing that it will take 217 years to close the gender parity gap. This year’s theme, #PressforProgress, focuses on gender parity and steps that calls on the world to take steps towards collectively working to close the gender gap.
We’ve asked some of Payoneer’s women in leadership positions around the world to weigh in on what #PressforProgress means to them.
Daphna Beer-Gabel Rubin – Senior Director, Customer Relationship Management
Understanding that women have what to contribute on par with men and treating them as equally capable is at the heart of closing the gender parity gap. We cannot deny that gender parity is still a great challenge for women across the entire globe. This parity comes as a result of many factors, societal and otherwise. However, it is also perpetuated by many women who succumb to the situation and as such, presume that they themselves are not equal. It is critical to change this mindset. For the sake of humanity, we owe it to ourselves to change this status quo – there is so much to gain! Women and men bring different strengths and weaknesses to the table, as well as different outlooks on life. The fact that we are different and that we can offer a great deal of balance is a great source of strength for women. Women have a tremendous amount to contribute to the conversation but sitting and waiting for the gap to magically close will only do a disservice to our children’s generation.
It’s imperative for both women and men alike to not make exceptions for women simply because they’re women. How do we do this? Understanding the innate differences between men and women is the first step. Understanding that these differences do not cancel out the fact that women’s capabilities and outputs are not inferior to those of their male counterparts. If you see yourself as having less worth, others tend to treat you as having less worth. I encourage all of us to adopt a level of conscious awareness, and apply them to our daily actions (big or small), and expect the same level of output and dedication from women as we do from men. Actively make room for women to lean in and bring their chair to the table. Perhaps, it takes a bit more juggling on her part to balance multiple responsibilities (including family). Men have these responsibilities, too. Strong women find a way to manage – to fill the gaps. Leave room for the differences, embrace them, make it a point to create an environment where women are active in a variety of positions. Let’s start acting as if the gap is already non-existent in order to close it as quickly as possible.
Aramara Miranda Leal – Director of Compliance and Fraud Controls
Many years ago, I actually enrolled in University to study International Development. I wanted “changing-the-world” to be my career path and figured academia would give me the required tools to do so.
Needless to say, I quit soon after. What I found at the time, and continue to discover each day, is that our biggest and most powerful tool is already at our disposal: our own agency. Every day, within ourselves and our own spheres of influence, (whether in the workplace or at home) we make very powerful choices. Who do we choose to include and exclude from our spheres of influence? Do we choose to support and celebrate others’ brave steps towards progress? Do we diminish them instead? And how about those whom we know are not granted such agency (may it be as a result of their gender, race, or social status…?) Do we stay silent or do we choose to advocate for them?
I’m not sure that I will ever have a magical solution for how we should #PressForProgress and achieve that “changing-the-world” career I once aspired to. I’ll commit to what I already have, though. Commit to making the best possible choices within the little piece of world I’ve been entrusted with, and try a bit harder every day on after.
Agnes Lee – Director, Client Business Management, Mass Payouts
I will #PressforProgress and supportively call-out inappropriate behavior. Women who are not intimidated to speak out, who can defend and advocate for themselves and other females around them, are those who can challenge the everyday stereotyping and underestimation of women. They are the role models for equality. They gain control and ownership over their lives by setting the priorities straight and devoting time to planning their personal lives and careers without any forms of restriction. For working moms, we must understand, admit, and accept that at times we must adjust our priorities to strike the right balance. My recommendation is to be as communicative as possible with your partner, children, and with your employer in order to create a plan that can find the right balance between parenthood and profession. And most importantly, a plan that makes you feel guilt-free and at ease with yourself.
Keren Levy – COO, General Manager
I am proud to share that 53% of our team members worldwide are women. I am even more proud to share that statistic comes even before we’ve planned and implemented any type of plan to address the issue of gender parity in the workforce. This statistic comes about organically, as a result of looking to employ people that aspire to excellence, with a bias for action, who are humble, passionate, creative thinkers and team players. In reality, among the candidates that apply, many women just tick the boxes on all those unique characteristics. Personally, I shy away from the press or speaking in conferences and recently one of my friends approached me saying that he has 2 girls and he would love for them to see more women speaking, being bolder and leaning in.
In conjunction with this, I am committed this year to:
- Actively contribute to changing the status quo and work to remove barriers to women’s progress because there are too many barriers and obsolete social structures, starting from the minute we are born, which leads us as women to make specific decisions. All men that raise daughters should see themselves as being responsible to do the same.
- Select women as spokespeople and leaders because there are so many inspiring women that are just not used to taking the front seat.
We just can’t wait 217 more years… it doesn’t feel fair to our children’s generation!
Nicole Kikoski Maio – VP, Head of Client Business Management, Mass Payouts
While the WEF report concludes that it will take another 217 years to close the gender gap, it is a fact that the today women have greater opportunities and there are more women in leadership positions than the generations before us. I cannot accept that the next generation of women, their daughters and grand-daughters still will be fighting for gender parity. While achieving an environment of equality requires partnership of men and women, women can begin to create opportunities for future generations by cultivating the right mindset.
I read an article a few weeks ago by Margie Warrell, about how women should stop being so hard on themselves and embrace their “enoughness.” The thesis is that we are bombarded 24/7 by ideals of being successful enough, confident enough, talented enough, organized enough, the list goes on… and many women spend far too much time focusing on how they fall short. It really resonated with me because I also subscribe to the belief that many women are their own toughest critics. This lack of kindness toward ourselves can ultimately hold us back, undermine resilience, and deter us from taking risks we need to achieve progress.
Let’s give ourselves permission to be fallible and make mistakes because these valuable lessons make us better leaders, colleagues and problem solvers. Moreover, our collective ability to embrace our human flaws liberates us to take more risks and ultimately succeed in pressing forward.
Linh Peresypkin – Head of Business Development, Vietnam
I come from Vietnam where traditionally the husband and father always take the role of the mainstay of the family while the wife and mother take on a more subdued role, focusing mainly on supporting their husband’s efforts to succeed. While I do appreciate the silent sacrifice a woman makes in more traditional societies, I also understand that these women are simply limited in terms of exposure to information. This alone is a factor that greatly contributes to gender parity. While opportunities for women have greatly increased in recent decades, there is still a long way to go.
I believe that family is the true pillar of support for both men and women alike. While traditionally, women have taken a more supporting role, today we are seeing both men and women taking on that supporting role for one another and using that support to fuel their careers and find that important balance to include family and a rich home life. This balance will serve to close the gap between men and women. I believe that as women play a more integral role in society, pursue their own careers and raise their voices to bring issues that really matter to the forefront, they create a place for themselves in society. To keep that place, they need to ask for the support of their partners and families. This balance is what will sustain us and what will bring about real change – without supporting each other, there will always be gaps that we cannot close. By supporting each other, we can pursue work we love and find that balance between self-fulfillment and the fulfillment that comes from supporting and being supported.
My hope for #PressforProgress is simple but not really simple: Be independent at work but never be independent of your family as they will provide you with the greatest source of strength and support.