In spirit of International Women’s Day (IWD), many of us gathered to celebrate the amazing women colleagues at MST and take a moment to recognize people who blaze the trail and inspire us to keep going on our journey. The room was filled with great energy and it was heartwarming (but not at all surprising) to see interns to executives including our CEO- Thiru Thangarthinam in attendance. I am lucky to be a part of an organization that believes in acknowledging and advancing the achievements of all genders every day, and International Women’s Day serves as an ideal time to strengthen its commitment.
International Women’s Day is a global day (March 8) celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality. This year, the IWD theme was each for equal #EachforEqual. It is more than a hashtag. People recognize it’s not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue.
The event started with a short presentation and a fun trivia learning about the IWD roots, acknowledging the impressive progress made globally, and bringing awareness to areas of improvement. The next portion of the event was the highlight of the afternoon- soulful and untold stories of silent heroes shared by some of our wonderful colleagues. We laughed and cried as we heard incredible stories of how a mother who didn’t give up on looking for her lost son; a husband cheer leading his wife to navigate through the adventures of corporate life; a boyfriend who unconditionally loved and supported his new girlfriend as she battled cancer; and many more.
Not only did each of these stories share a message of hope, courage, love, and empowerment but also displayed how humility, resilience, and an inclusive mindset can tear down barriers, reduce the effects of stereotype threat, and create enormous positive ripple effects in all areas of life. The celebration ended by handing out hand-written gratitude notes and enjoyed some delicious desserts!
Thankfully, I notice that within MST even though we are a small company, I am encouraged by the fact that diversity and inclusion are in-built in our DNA, and we are consciously looking for ways to elevate the belonging quotient. Recently, we introduced extra paid time off to create a supportive culture for our parents, Equal pay, equal opportunity for hiring, launched a micro-training program for Managing Unconscious Bias and have structures in place to offer in/formal mentorship and coaching for all.
Even though as a society we have made some good progress on gender equality, our stories aren’t finished yet. Each of us can help to defeat biases, be a mentor, listen big, and be an advocate. Celebrate those who inspire you and share your stories with others. I’m certain it will inspire and empower someone else.