“Living To Inspire”: Meet The Womxn Of Selina
A moment of celebration, advocacy, and education, International Women’s Day forges a path towards change. It’s a day to highlight the women who have paved the way for growth and equality while also encouraging new generations to never stop fighting for what they believe in.
This International Women’s Day, we caught up with different members of the Selina community to talk about traveling, careers, performing, and risk-taking, and how gender plays a pivotal role in their daily lives.
Women in the music industry have been working to claim their much-deserved spot at the top alongside male artists who dominated the scene for many years. An international music platform designed for artists by artists, SIMS welcomes creatives from all walks of life to showcase their talent in a safe space that’s open to all. Here’s what two of our featured musicians had to say about gender equality in the music industry:
As a female musician, is equality in your industry something that you feel exists? How can your industry strive for gender equality?
“The music industry still is a boys club dominated by male artists, booking agents, and promoters. Women have always faced a wide disparity in terms of opportunity, pay gap, and being outnumbered – not only in festivals or important clubs, but also in leadership roles. The perception the industry has of women is one of the biggest obstacles we face in the course of our careers: it is full of stereotypes and objectification, where talent and skill are questioned all the time.
Meaningful change is happening – although at a slow pace. We have a long way to go, and that’s why it’s so important for women like myself to be vocal about it.
Female-centered initiatives are bringing into focus professionals and issues that are pivotal to transform the power and gender dynamics in the scene. My role as a female artist goes far beyond performing: I have the responsibility to use my voice in the fight for equality, to throw light upon this, praise and share opportunities with other women, promote a safe and inclusive environment at our events, and, hopefully, inspire other girls to strive for their careers in music.”
Eliana Iwasa, International DJ Club 88 – Where Music Matters
“Absolutely, equality is important to me – as it should be to everyone regardless of gender! I’d like to challenge the industry to direct the energy they have into finding and promoting female artists for IWD and to distribute it so that more womxn are highlighted all year-round. I’d also like the industry to understand how much power there is in highlighting these artists because representation really does matter, and providing a platform for womxn musicians, DJs, designers, etc. will DEFINITELY inspire others to follow suit. This is especially true of black, ethnic minority, and LGBTQ+ womxn. Sometimes, all you need is to see someone who looks like you taking up space in a field for you to realise that it’s possible.”
Marla Kether, DJ/Musician based in London
An international company with over 1,000 employees worldwide, Selina welcomes people from all over the world who are passionate about making a difference. Here’s what two of the women behind Selina had to say about their careers:
Climbing the professional ladder in a company as big as Selina takes determination. Do you think you had to overcome gender stereotypes in order to get where you are today?
“Not really. I feel I was given the same opportunities as any of my coworkers. I was just brave enough to say yes to every new role, task, and project. I’ve always considered myself equal at Selina. I believe I gained the respect and trust of my colleagues because I always felt confident that I was capable of doing the job, regardless of my gender. I always embraced every new opportunity, because I believe that everything that you do serves a purpose for something that you’ll need in the future.”
What advice would you give to young women that want to follow in your footsteps?
“Say yes to challenges, believe in yourself, be humble, acknowledge your weaknesses, and make sure to always put 100% of your efforts into everything that you do. But, most importantly, just have fun and enjoy the ride.”
Tania Braithwaite, Chief of Staff
Have you ever felt that you needed to challenge gender stereotypes in order to get where you are today?
“I was lucky enough to be raised by parents who don’t follow gender stereotypes, but share responsibilities and contribute to the household on equal measure according to their strengths, talents, and nature. As a result, I use my talent, experience, professional, and personal attitude to break any glass ceiling I encounter. I never try to be the same as the men in the room, but I do insist on being equal.”
Roni Burrell, VP Product Tech
As women, we’re often told that traveling alone is a “bad idea”. But what happens when women flip that narrative on its head and decide that traveling long-term is exactly what they want to do? We spoke to members of our CoLive program to find out what they had to say:
Packing up your life and creating a new home base for yourself halfway across the world is something that takes guts. As a woman, do you think you always perceived yourself as brave? What advice would you give to other women who don’t feel “brave enough”?
“I think I’ve always been a risk-taker and enjoyed exploring the unknown. I never really saw it as brave until someone would mention it. I usually just follow my heart and do what is naturally fun for me! I think the most important thing is to listen to and follow your own intuition. What is right for you might not be right for someone else. When you are acting in alignment with what is true for you, the universe will always have your back.”
Hannah Flattery, @hannah_flattery
“I’m not sure I would describe myself as brave. Perhaps, strong or persistent with a courageous attitude. I’ve always believed in my ability to succeed and fight for what I believe in. I am the kind of woman who will not give up on her dreams regardless of how many obstacles stand in her way. Everything you ever dreamed of is on the other side of fear. When you embrace your courage, you will naturally evolve into a more successful person because you’re more likely to pursue your dreams and seize opportunities that the universe presents to you…”
Rose Lawless, @i_am_ms_rose
“I left Portugal after university, almost 20 years ago so I do consider myself a brave person! To all the women currently hesitating to try something because it seems difficult – try it! The most beautiful thing in life is that these changes or adventures usually bring good surprises. You discover yourself and you discover your abilities. Along the way, there will always be someone there to reach out and help you – even a stranger. Don’t be influenced by people who don’t understand what you want. Life is too short, follow your dreams!”
Viviana Lopes, CoLive resident for the past year! @viviafife
Women surfers have worked hard since the 80s and 90s to destroy sexist stereotypes. The Selina Surf Club welcomes women who want to chase thrills and ride waves in an environment that’s free from all judgement, designed for people who just want to shred. Here’s what one woman had to say about surfing as a woman:
Have there been any moments where you’ve been looked at as weaker because of your gender? What advice would you give to female surfers looking to follow in your footsteps?
“It’s funny. I started surfing when I was 9 years old and found a coach a couple months after that. The group I trained with consisted of only guys. Because of this, I was more than used to being around them and pushing myself all the time. I can’t really say there was a moment where I felt “weak” because there really wasn’t. I always pushed myself and tried to improve and get better. I think that the best advice that I could give anyone is this: If you’re passionate about something, take it to the max, give it all you have, and there will be no one that can stop you or say anything to try and stop you. You’re doing this for yourself, not for anybody else! As long as you’re enjoying yourself, you’re on the right path! Just have fun!
Teresa Bonvalot, Surfer/Cascais Red Bull Portugal Athlete SportingCP 2xEuropean junior champion @teresabonvalot
But empowerment, inspiration, and celebration can’t always be one-sided. Otherwise there’d be no real room for growth. We caught up with Marco André Schwarzstein, the Art Leader at Selina Brazil, to hear what he had to say:
As a male artist/creator is equality in your industry something that is important to you?
“It is certainly essential to have a much greater balance in relation to the individual and gender diversities existing within the creative and cultural industry. If diversity exists in our society, it must be present within all market segments. Diversity is fundamental for greater plurality of thoughts and artistic manifestations. I think it’s important to say that it’s impossible to approach gender diversity without addressing other existing diversities.”
How will you choose to challenge yourself and your industry to strive for gender equality and ensure that female artists/creators receive recognition in the work they do?
“I first recognize my place as privileged and understand that not everyone has had the same opportunities I’ve had. Sparking a debate regarding gender diversity, reflecting, and studying this theme is also fundamental. It’s also essential to understand the importance and relevance of this theme, and to participate in this exchange of ideas whenever possible. We must take the issue of diversity into consideration in the design and development of all the projects in which it is involved and put it into practice, always seeking a balance between genders. Doing my part is essential within a process of transformation.
Another way is by intensifying the focus of diversity in relation to new generations, and by encouraging, empowering, and stimulating the participation of people of the most varied genders, races, and creeds. We’re all the same, so it doesn’t make sense that this doesn’t reflect within our market. Art has an enormous power of transformation and is a fundamental tool for transforming realities and perspectives.
So whenever I can I repeat: Art will save the world.”
Marco André Schwarzstein, @mrkto79
Although great steps have been taken in the matter of women’s equality, women can’t do all the grunt work by themselves. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that inequality either disappears, or continues to overshadow creatives, thinkers, travelers, and athletes who are chipping away at these damaging stereotypes.
Take action, raise your voice, and see where it leads you. What can you do today to celebrate the powerful, strong, brave women in your life?