An equal world is an enabled world

Amazon Pay employee Manisha Talwar shares what International Women’s Day means to her.

I have embodied the principal of ‘lean-in’ throughout my professional and personal life. Through the risks I have taken in my career, I have learned that knowing when to lean-in is as important for women as knowing when not to. But even more important, is women leaning in for other women, more frequently and more vocally.

A few scenarios that come to mind; let’s say you’ve just heard a colleague of yours was cut off midway through presenting a new idea, or you’ve come across an opportunity that you think will be great for someone you know, or maybe you’ve felt the women next to you in the café was not treated with respect.

We sure know when to lean in for ourselves. In a truly equal world, both men and women will lean in for the equality and growth of everyone around us and not stay silent. We can create an equal world, when we ‘lean-in’ for others too, for equality, for their success and for the good we see in them.

I have been fortunate to have experience working in three different geographies around the world -- India, Europe and now the US. Experiences that women have in the US are no different from the ones that women have in Europe or in India. The scale at which these differences play and the level of awareness of these differences is of a varied degree for sure.

I believe all mothers carry a big responsibility to inspire this notion of equality in their children. We have to raise boys who understand the concept of treating women with respect, and as equals. We need to raise girls to know they don’t have to love pink and it’s ok to like the color blue, at a really early age. Kids learn by demonstration. If they see their mom’s, not prioritizing her own well-being (ever!), never having to do something for herself, and never fighting back when she see’s injustice, they learn that ‘it’s normal’ for women to be a second priority.

I make it a point, to correct my two son’s actions or words, every time I think their subconscious told them it was ok for women to be a stereotype! Something as simple as speaking politely to ‘Alexa’ and not ordering her around to remind you or play music for you. In my house the rule is, you can speak to Alexa, only when you say ‘Alexa Please’.

At Amazon, I’m fortunate enough to work within an organization that recognizes there is an ongoing opportunity to help women grow in the workplace. Through our global affinity group Women@Amazon and affiliated chapter Women@Payments, I get the opportunity to work and support the development of a thriving community of women and allies.

Last year, we celebrated International Women’s Day by sharing some of the ways companies can support progress towards gender parity. These remain real opportunities for equality.

Collectively, each one of us can help create a gender equal world, with the smallest of our actions. How about leaving an equal and enabled world for our daughters to live in?

What does this quote mean to you: ‘An equal world is an enabled world’

Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day. We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements.

- Manisha Talwar, Senior Marketing Manager, Amazon Pay

An equal world is one that acknowledges, accepts, and values every person’s uniqueness equally. An equal world enables us to move authentically and confidently upon Earth (and space), throughout communities, & within the walls of corporations without fear that our uniqueness is counted against us.Equality starts with self-love! I am forging a world of equality by moving authentically and confidently where ever I go – never counting any aspect of me against myself. #EachforEqual #LeadByExample

- Kandis Webb, Account Manager, Amazon Pay

To me, equality means praising unapologetic strength, encouraging confidence, and appreciating the unique perspective that women provide, just as we do for men. It means that it would no longer be “crazy” to have a female president, equality in the STEM fields, and more top CEOs to be identified not by gender, but for their contributions in the boardroom.

- Kayla Common, Account Manager, Amazon Pay

#EachforEqual in my world means having women in my leadership team, enabling women to speak first and speak often in important meetings, paying attention to the career growth of women at every level, and mentoring key women leaders across our worldwide org. It also means increasing such awareness in every male manager/leader in the org. We are making progress, but still have a long way to go.

- Vidya Shastri, Director, Payments Engineering, Payment Products