International Women’s Day 2021 – Q&A with Gaia Arzilli
In celebration of IWD we have interviewed HubHub's own Gaia Arzilli and discussed what she will #ChooseToChallenge
Happy International Women’s Day to all inspirational women out there!
At HubHub we pride ourselves on gender equality, 61% of our team identify as female and 36% of our leadership team are amazing women!
Our plan for this year is to encourage and inspire our female HubHub members within all HubHub workspaces via various activities, from mentorship schemes to exclusive workshops and talks.
The yearlong campaign to support women in the workplace will commence on 8 March. On 31st March we’ll launch a digital event in partnership with Microsoft to explore why in 2021 there are still few women in leadership positions. The event will feature a keynote by Violeta Luca, General Manager at Microsoft Slovakia and Czech Republic and an interesting panel discussion between founders and investors. The event will also feature 5 female-led startups from across Europe (or v4 to be more precise). Click here to find out more.
For the rest of 2021, we will be posting a monthly blog with all our activities along with interviews of inspirational woman that work in our HubHub locations.
Our first interview to kick off this year International Women’s Day is with our very own Gaia Arzilli, HubHub Group Community & Partnerships Manager.
What do you really do at HubHub and do you feel supported?
My role at HubHub covers a wide variety of initiatives including creating engagement opportunities, building valuable and meaningful relationships with different communities across Europe and championing innovation. We are here to provide them with beautiful workspaces, facilitate collaboration alongside to support their growth from the comfort of their homes – as we introduce new ways of working.
I am proud to work for a progressive employer that supports women across their careers, from flexible working hours, to creating family- and pet- friendly environments, to inspiring events and learning opportunities. I am passionate about the role that industry plays in creating a truly sustainable world.
However, it is our individual responsibility to create and seize the opportunities around us. Getting to where I am now is the result of hard-work and determination along with the continued support of women and men alike who also strive to create a positive societal change.
What did you want to become when you were young?
Growing up, I vividly remember aspiring to be an explorer. The idea of being able to witness and experience new things and a curiosity for the unknown are deeply seeded within my personality. I also remember being drawn to people that were working hard to contribute to the improvement of communities around them.
Although I knew I wanted to act on the ambition from a young age, deep inside I was faced with doubts when I shared my passion with others for one simple reason – I wasn’t a boy. Back then, the gender bias was glaringly obvious and for a woman to travel on her own was either deemed dangerous or scary. Imagine wanting to explore as a lifestyle choice?
Despite that, I was (and I still am) determined to continue to prove that ‘gender-norms’ are ready to become a part of history. There were times when I was armed with little more than a backpack, and other times I moved to follow a new job opportunity. My determination has given me the freedom of transferring my love of travelling into both my academic and professional life, having studied and worked in a range of countries which include the UK, Argentina, Costa Rica and a few more.
Do you feel like sufficient progress has been made to erode gender bias?
No, the gender pay gap and the penalisation in career progression that women face is still very much there. However, I think it is important to note how far we have come in recent years, we have managed to achieve what those before us thought impossible.
Women are now playing instrumental and inspirational roles in society. Our voices are finally heard. While the world has been distracted by the noise of all those resistant to change, change has been happening anyway.
From industry, government to civil society, formidable women are leading the way for a better future and the coverage we receive today is testament of that. Did you know that there are currently 22 elected women heads of states or governments? Sure, that means that 119 nations are still led by men, but it is more than ever before in history. Or that 8% of women represent Fortune 500 CEOs (of which only 1% are BAME)? Or that 21% of tech unicorns are led by women? Is that enough? Of course not, the road towards equality is still long and tortuous, but we should celebrate our successes rather than just focus on the challenges ahead of us. Today. Everyday.
Empowered women can change the word, one step at a time. Together we can create a wave capable of sweeping change. This thought motivates me every day and pushes me to support people and companies to work together towards a common goal.
What advice would you share for this year International Women’s Day?
Never be afraid to try, to challenge and to push the boundaries of what you have been told is possible. Call out gender bias, question processes, engage in innovation and do not be afraid of being your confident, creative self. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge – We all have the opportunity to impact society – Let’s not waste it!
Society is changing, and it is changing fast. If you want to contribute to its transformation, then don’t hold back. Find a company/organization/community that speaks your language and approach it. The world needs more strong-willed, creative, and collaborative talent like yours.
Most importantly, support each other – there is power in numbers.
Whilst it is vital for women to continue to support each other and to work towards a better future together, it is also imperative that we understand that it is both men’s and women’s responsibility to bring forward a cohesive culture of driving change.
Together we can all help create an inclusive world, one step at a time.