Women’s History Month: What It Means to Us

It’s a no brainer: women should be celebrated every day.  Society is making strides towards dialogues that are more inclusive of those who have been marginalized and silenced from the history of our country: minority groups, the LGBTQ community, and women, to name a few.  The progress that has been made, especially recently with societal impacts made by causes like the #MeToo movement and the exponential increase in the number of females serving in the 116th Congress, is exciting: women are hurdling over boundaries of prejudice to occupy positions of power and to use their voices to lead, to represent, and to advocate for change.  There are countless women who have done or are doing exceptional work in the realms of politics, STEM, medicine, education, activism, etc.; many of these women have stories that have yet to be told, or they’re just beginning to be told. However, just like history, the feminist movement can be incredibly one-sided and exclusive. Knowing this, let us commit this month to shedding light on the stories and successes of the women who have been overlooked throughout history, and let us take the opportunity to celebrate the incredible and powerful women who are doing great things in our own lives.

Turning the History Lens Inward

“History” is a big word.  I do not mean that it’s difficult to read or to define, but I suggest that it carries a lot of weight and can be intimidating to reframe in a subjective context.  It can make you want to think about women who were leaders of major movements, women with brilliant brains or brave heroics, or women whose contributions changed the course of history.  Though these stories must be told and celebrated – let us scream them from the rooftops! -, Women’s History Month is also an opportunity to recognize the women whose names perhaps will not make the history books.  This month, I encourage you to celebrate the historical achievements of women and to seek out the stories of the important women that you might not be familiar with, but I also urge you to look to the women around you – in the workplace, the classroom, the home, etc. – and ask yourself how and why you should be empowering them as well.  I put these ideas into action by including members of the Fifth Tribe team because despite significant strides, the workplace still continues to be a hub of gender inequality. I was curious to see how and why my coworkers are celebrating Women’s History Month, and I also thought it was important to strike up these conversations in a month about female success, leadership, and empowerment.     

WHM & Its Significance in the Workplace

I put my curiosity into action by compiling a list of questions pertaining to Women’s History Month and the important women in each of our lives in order to gauge what this month means to all of us here at Fifth Tribe.  Some responses from team members are featured below:

When asked about why Women’s History Month is significant and why it should be celebrated, particularly in the workplace, Fifth Tribe’s CEO Khuram Zaman answered, “I think WHM is significant because the work that women do is often overlooked or denigrated.  It should be celebrated and honored in the interest of promoting equality. It’s even more important to commemorate in the workplace, where many gender imbalances still occur.” He also stated that, to him, Women’s History Month is a time to stop and consider “all of the amazing – and often overlooked – contribution of women” in history and the present day.  Schuyler Mobley, the team’s lead graphic designer, built off of Khuram’s input and said that this month is special because, “We have to remind the world that women have paved the way for most of the milestones in the history of our experience. We shouldn’t just reflect on that fact this month, but all year round. We’ve accomplished so much, yet we are, more often than not, still not deemed equal to men.”  

Our account manager and product owner, Adam Motiwala, agreed and added that, “It’s important to understand that progress is really just starting to be forged, and there is still a long way to go.”  Along the same lines as Adam, Sally Zhang, a marketing associate, emphasized the significance of celebrating Women’s History Month in the workplace: a woman in technology, she has directly experienced gender bias in the workplace and hopes that frequent and transparent recognition of female contributions one day become a professional norm.  

Celebration, Recognition, Empowerment, & Gratitude

Fabi Semidey, the Community Manager and a member of the Marketing Team here at Fifth Tribe, highlighted some important ways in which she celebrates and empowers women.  She said, “I acknowledge women by sharing articles, videos, and photos on my social media accounts that highlight women in politics, pop culture and the community, particularly women who are fighting for the rights of others.” Schuyler stated that, to her, female empowerment means first empowering herself: “As a Black woman, I need to be tough in this world.  But I remind myself that I am strong, I am assertive, I am powerful, and I am determined no matter the circumstances.” Additionally, Marcus Butler, a Pivot Fellow who has just recently joined the Fifth Tribe team, chimed in that as a way to celebrate women, he reminds himself to look to them – not just to men – as sources of inspiration and leadership.

When asked about one specific thing that they are going to do to celebrate Women’s History Month, the team came up with some great ideas.  Schuyler mentioned that she’s planning on attending networking events about female empowerment and celebration: “They are great ways to remind ourselves that we are all here! We are here to support one another and here to celebrate our accomplishments as women.”  Both Khuram and Fabi answered that they’re planning on seeing Captain Marvel this upcoming weekend; Khuram is taking his daughter because “representation matters” and young girls need to see themselves represented in strong, independent, and brave characters. Our other Pivot Fellow, Marquis Hicks, is excited to write his mother a “Thinking of You” card expressing how grateful he is for her, and he’s even planning on making her a home cooked meal!     

The final question that I asked my coworkers was, “Who is the most inspirational woman in your life and why?” Moms – understandably – were the popular answer, so here’s a quick shoutout to all of the super moms out there! Khuram reflected that his mother is the most inspiring woman in his life, saying that along with her intelligence and resiliency, “She is one of the most determined people [he] knows, a fast learner, and is incredibly passionate as well.  She taught [him] so many things that [he] later used in life as an entrepreneur.” Schuyler said that her mom is the epitome of strength: “She’s been determined all her life to not let anyone or anything hold her back while trying to support herself and her daughters. She’s been through the mud but has stayed strong even through the toughest of times.” Marcus knows that he can call on his mother for anything in the world and that she will always support him as he works towards his goals, and Marquis thanks his mom for teaching him how to exercise grace.  And finally, Fabi called her mother a “go-getter” who has instilled in her the idea that there’s never a reason why she can’t go after something and accomplish her goals. Power to the women – and to the moms!

What This Month Means To Us… And You

At Fifth Tribe, Women’s History Month carries a lot of significance: the month is about bringing attention to important women whom history has overlooked, celebrating strides towards equality for all, and expressing gratitude and appreciation for all of the women in our lives.  Whether you’re sharing stories about women who inspire you, engaging in conversations about gender equality and empowerment, making the effort to learn more about important women in history, or participating in a few of the many ways to honor females in your life, don’t miss out on the many opportunities to celebrate women.  

How do you plan on commemorating Women’s History Month? Let us know by reaching out to us on Twitter @FifthTribe, Instagram @fifth_tribe, LinkedIn, or Facebook @fifthtribe!   

Khuram Zaman

Khuram Zaman is the CEO of Fifth Tribe, a leading digital agency serving the Washington DC Metropolitan Area based out of the 1776 Startup Co-working Space. In his professional capacity, he has provided digital marketing services to clients as diverse as the Department of Defense, Kaiser Permanente, Oxfam America, Ernst and Young, and The Hult Prize. His writing has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur.com, and Business2Community. Khuram is the host of the Campfire: Impact and Innovation live podcast on Youtube. In his free-time, Khuram serves as a mentor to startups through the Peace Tech Accelerator, the Halycon Incubator, and is also a Entrepreneur in Residence at Georgetown University