What is your stance on Barbie as a role model?
Even though Barbie is a bit disproportionate, there is no doubt that she is a universal figure in many, many homes. The company has capitalized on it, but with all the new body types, hair types, and jobs, I believe they reinvented themselves from the very first Barbie to provide a huge platform.
Have you faced any issues regarding gender inequality?
When women go to get tasks done that are considered male tasks, like tire fixing, women have to ask themselves “is this person [the mechanic] trustworthy? Do they take me seriously?” And I’ve been called, you know, a little girl when I got my tires changed.
What is your International Women’s Month Message?
“Empowered women empower women”
What was an empowering moment that inspired you?
I’ve always felt inspired when students lead things and own their passions, like when the group of students created a Black History Month Assembly from scratch. It was amazing to witness.
What does International Women’s Month mean to you?
It’s a time to highlight the things that we know are true all year long. Women do groundbreaking things every day and this is our time to focus in and highlight those amazing accomplishments.
Only 5% of all major US Corporations can say they have a majority female executive board. What do you think about that, and are there steps we can take to fix it?
Changing any powerful system requires a dominant group to relinquish their power in order to allow for more representation at every level. Creating equity and educating men about what gender equity really means is so important.
Share your favorite famous females: Politicians, Singers, Athletes, and more!
Elizabeth Warren (politician), Saoirse Ronan (actress), Tracee Ellis Ross (comedian), @ariana_waller on instagram for entrepreneur (Ms. Jackson’s friend). Naomi Osaka (tennis player)
Why did you choose to become a teacher?
I loved school, school was a safe place, and I had some english teachers that acknowledged me.
In your opinion, why is it important that more women take up STEM and executive positions in the near future?
Women are uniquely positioned to be problem solvers and can provide a lot of fresh creativity and alternative perspective to historically male-dominated groups.
Do you think there’s a stereotype attached to females in powerful positions?
Since we are still constructing the strong women narrative, strong women can be seen as overdominant, angry, or aggressive because people aren’t used to women in high positions.
What do you think is the biggest issue facing females today?
I think it’s seeing women in the highest levels of leadership. Today women are more educated and [than in the past], and Black women especially are the fastest growing educated group in America. But even with this, the absence of women in Fortune 500 companies is [striking].
Why do you participate in the Girl Up Club and what do you hope to achieve?
[Girl Up] is a student led group, 3 young women wanted to start it, and they wanted me to be the advisor. I have had great conversations about leadership and empowerment, and it is amazing considering that this is an international organization sponsored by the UN.
Who was your first role model?
My neighbor was a very vibrant mom who was going back to grad school and doing a new career and approached life with joy. Most women I knew just lived settled lives, but she was totally different, taking risks and dreaming big.
What has the media done for women’s rights and is it improving?
Social media has been democratizing, and has created a platform for stories which has created monetization for content that women care about. Social media has also made room for non mainstream conversations like assault and hygiene.