Set against a backdrop of fun and florals, but motivated by the desire to inform and galvanize, a team of women assembled together in Toronto to collaborate on I Am Woman, a unique photo shoot project inspired by International Women’s Day on March 8, 2018.
“I wanted to curate this event to showcase how inspiring women are. Men get a lot of credit for running businesses and being champions of innovation, but there so many women out here doing the same thing without equal attention.” explains the event’s organizer, Alicia Jenelle, the Founder and Lead Event Manager at Alicia Jenelle Events.
The I Am Woman styled photo shoot featured a stellar lineup of five influential Canadian women including, Alyssa Bertram, CEO & Founder of Easy Period; Nneka Elliott, media personality, actress and content creator; Nicole Athanasopoulos, the owner of Nu Link Media; Janet Jackson, celebrity hairstylist, beauty expert and owner of Juju Hair Studio; and Dominique, a Youtuber and fashion blogger.
“I wanted to find a way to encourage young women as well,” notes Jenelle. “Especially because I didn’t see that as much growing up. I want to inspire women and push us all to work together.”
This years’ IWD theme of #PressforProgress is a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress.
With the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away—there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and #PressforProgress.
The movement is a call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive—to #PressforProgress.
“It’s important to find other like-minded women that want to empower each other and support each other rather than compete and tear each other down.” comments Nicole Athanasopoulos.
“As a woman, there is sometimes a sense of small-mindedness and people try to fit you into a box of what they think you should be doing,” remarks Nneka Elliott, who most recently transitioned into the world of acting and digital content creation after leaving a career as an on-air broadcaster.
“We’re still dealing with the same challenges that many of my male counterparts don’t even have to think about, so it’s important that we have movements such as #PressforProgress to remind us that we have a long way to go.” says Elliott.
But with movements like #MeToo, #TimesUp as well as #movethedial sparking unprecedented global dialogue for women's rights, equality and justice, it’s becoming easier to see that Canada and across the world women are making positive gains.
Tunisia’s new constitution includes strong support for equality in women’s political representation, Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree in 2017 allowing women to drive and just this year, Iceland made it illegal to pay women less than men.
“Whatever women want to do we should just go after it. We need to chase our dreams and chase what it is we want to do.” remarks Dominique.
“Nothing happens overnight.” adds Jackson. “We just have to set realistic goals, put in the work and be patient.”
As part of the #PressforProgress campaign, participants of the movement are being asked to commit to a "gender parity mindset" via progressive action.
Among other behavioural and mindset changes, some of the actions include questioning assumptions about women, using inclusive language, challenging statements that limit women and buying from retailers who position women in positive ways.
“We believe we can make a big impact in the community. Now, more than ever, we need to move forward and progress gender parity.” says Jenelle.
Individually, we're one drop but together we're an ocean.
Click here to check the full photo shoot.
To learn more about International Women’s Day on March 8th and how you can take action to #PressforProgress, visit the IWD website www.internationalwomensday.com.
Balloon Artist: @weballoonz
Creative Director & Producer: @aliciajenelleevents
Creative Director & Photographer: @aliciacampbellphoto
Fashion Stylist for Janet Jackson: @msstylelyte
Floral Designer: @lifeinflowerstoronto
Hair, Senior Artist Jordan: @covet.co
Hair for Janet Jackson, Jordan Rodney of JouJou Hair Studio: @tressesbyjordan
Makeup for Janet Jackson: @daneillemattismua
Suit by Andrea Lyte: @bespokeclothin
Stationery Designer: @castlefielddesign
#styledshoot #toronto #pressforprogress #dreamteam #internationalwomensday