When I was born, the thought of a black president was farfetched, but the idea of a black, female Vice President, was so far out of the realm of possibility it couldn’t even be imagined.
Although some attempts to celebrate how far women have come, fell flat today, there is a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of buoyancy, at how hard we’ve worked to get this far – even as we know how far we still have to go.
As a black woman, starting from the bottom isn’t something I’m a stranger to.
Around 2010, after navigating the world of online marketing and attempting to pull my first product together, I tried my hand at outsourcing, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and the young, soft spoken East Asian man I interviewed assured me he was skilled at site building and I was in good hands.
A week later, it took multiple attempts before I realized I wasn’t using the wrong password, my login credentials had been changed. I was no longer in control of my site.
Frantically, I emailed Odesk’s tech support asking what to do. And got nothing but disinterest.
In setting up my account, I had created my account as Courtney Jones, and created myself as an employee, Courtney Jones.
The person who snatched my account promptly put employee Courtney to work doing all kinds of marketing and web developing tasks. Hiring me out all over the web.
I began being locked out of my accounts, one -by-one, even the ones whose passwords I’d changed. My About.Me page, My BlogTalk account, within weeks my entire online existence was altered.
After getting nowhere with any of the admins on these sites, and seeing my name begin to pop up on European article writing sites as a “Pen Name”, I began to slowly rebuild.
Ironically, that young man is now a very well-known, very wealthy, digital marketer with a cadre of affiliates on Clickbank and Warrior Plus, and my attempts to speak out left me blacklisted by the tech community for many years.
To do this day, I’ve never received a penny for any of it. And tech has acted like I’m a problem for noticing.
The theme for this years celebration is #ChooseToChallenge and I think we all can choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
International Women’s Day is meant to celebrate just how far women have come, even when I’m reminded just how far we still have to go.