With the arrival of March, we’re proud to celebrate International Women’s Day all month long, and to extend our support, we sat down and spoke with eight creative women to highlight their work in practice.
The theme of this year’s IWD is “Break The Bias” — seeking a world free of stereotypes and discrimination where difference is valued and celebrated to create a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
We were fortunate enough to talk with women from Toronto and Vancouver, discussing their careers, achievements, and upbringings while focusing on their artistry and individuality. They welcomed us into their homes, studios, and workspaces to get a feel about who they are, what they do, and why International Women’s Day is important to them.
Can you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you do?
My name is Zahra Siddiqui and I am a Toronto-based portrait photographer with a focus on BIPOC and social justice.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It's a day when women get to be celebrated in a world that often does not empower us. I hope this day reminds people to be mindful of the powerful contribution, our existence alone, brings to the world.
How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurial roles/creative careers?
The best way to encourage women to pursue a creative career is through visibility and representation. The more we see diverse women creatives being included regularly in mainstream media, the more we are given space to manifest our dreams into reality.
Which women inspired you growing up and why?
My mother taught me what resilience looks like. Watching her navigate Canada, as an immigrant woman of colour from Pakistan and a mother to three young children, is what has moulded me to be who I am today. Without her as a role model, I'm not sure I would be the artist I am today.
Knowing where you are now, what advice would you give to your younger self that's just starting out?
The best advice I would give to my younger self is to create space for a self-care practice. As I got older, I realized self-care tools would've supported me in creating balance and not overworking myself. We tend to hustle so hard in the beginning that we easily forget about just being. Once I learned what a healthy hustle schedule looked like, my quality of life increased in all areas.
Which aspects of your career are you most proud of?
The aspect of my career that I am most proud of are the relationships that I have made along the way. I truly believe that being focused and intentional with your goals is extremely important, but how you treat people can ultimately make or break you. I also am proud of how I've been able to be a mentor and share my knowledge with those who are seeking it from women of colour, specifically! Empowering and inspiring the next generation feels like success to me.
Do you have a favourite moment from Nike’s longstanding history of empowering women?
I played basketball for 14 years, so Nike has always been one of those brands that I turned to for inspiration. Seeing the diversity within Nike’s representation has given me hope that maybe one day someone like me, a brown woman, will be represented through a powerful visible platform like Nike… and now the time has come, where I am that person for other young brown girls to see in this light!