"I think it's super important to build on what women around the world have achieved in the last century in terms of equality. Each and every one of us is doing our part to actively shape a world that is characterized by equality. We have interviewed women entrepreneurs on the topic on the occasion of International Women's Day on March 08, 2022.

I hope you enjoy reading!"

Isaline Arnoldi, GEMHYPE







STERNEFELD

Elina Sternefeld, CEO & Founder

Tell us about your woman power, your business!

My label STERNEFELD stands for high-quality and timeless jewelry from sustainable production. It is important to me that my real jewelry is handmade in Germany. High quality standards are very important to me. 

I only use sustainable and recycled materials in my production, such as recycled gold and fairly sourced gemstones.


Which woman in your life has particularly inspired you as a role model?

My role models have always been strong women from the sporting world. They taught me many things that I now apply in my everyday business life. I started the martial art of judo when I was 5 years old. Judo is a sport in which you learn to get up again and again and keep going. You are successful if you have stamina and can also accept defeat without giving up afterwards. It's the same when you start your own business. Things don't always go straight up. I learned from sportswomen that you must face challenges and learn from setbacks. That's the only way to get better.

Have you ever faced obstacles because of your gender?

The jewelry industry is still very male-dominated. I find it an obstacle that there are too few women in the top positions in the jewelry industry. At trade fairs, for example, as a young female entrepreneur, you are an outsider among men and are often not taken seriously.

What advice would you give to women who are thinking about starting a business and becoming self-employed?

Be brave! Trust in yourself, break away from perfectionism and just get started. I would advise all women to network as well and as broadly as possible with other founders right from the start. Together, you can achieve more.

Instagram: @sternefeldjewellery






STATEFREE

Christiana Bukalo, Mind behind Statefree

Tell us about your woman power, your business!

Statefree is the first organization in Germany to address the issue of statelessness. Statelessness describes the status of people who have no effective nationality and therefore often no access to basic rights. Our aim is to raise awareness of the issue, create a community for those affected and empower stateless people. As a non-profit, we are an organization that is traditionally rarely perceived as a "business". Our "business" is therefore primarily focused on the change and social transformation that we can bring about in the world and in ourselves.

Which woman in your life has particularly inspired you as a role model?

My answer to this question is always very cheesy, but also 100% honest: my mother. The serenity, resilience and contentment with which she faces every situation in life has always been something I admired. And on top of that, she also has a sense of humor ;) - there is no better role model for me.

Have you ever faced obstacles because of your gender?

As is so often the case with diversity, my experiences must also be considered in the context of my intersectionality. For those who are not familiar with the term: Intersectionality describes the intersection of different characteristics of our identity and the extent to which some people experience discrimination based on several of these characteristics. After all, I'm not just a woman, I'm a Black woman first and foremost. And that's great, but extremely challenging in both private and professional contexts. Of course, I have often had the experience of being judged based on my appearance and not on the basis of my expertise. Without wanting to relativize these experiences, however, it is important for me to emphasize how important precisely for this reason those superiors were for me who actively promoted and supported me - even as men.

What advice would you give to women who are thinking about starting a business and becoming self-employed?

My first impulse was "just do it". However, I think that's so easy to say. By "just do it" I don't mean that starting a business is easy, but that you should dare to do it. The discrimination you experience as a woman in the world of work often leads you to internalize an image of yourself that doesn't correspond to the truth. Just because a colleaguedoesn't trust you to do something doesn't mean that you can’t do it. Opinions are not facts. Detach yourself from external influences and understand for yourself your strengths and weaknesses. Then celebrate and use your strengths and get support and tips for your weaknesses.

Do you want to address something else? Draw attention to grievances or something particularly positive?

Don't fall into cynicism. Yes, I think we all agree that we would like to live in a world where Women's Day is not necessary, but this wish is yet another reason to use this day for education and advancement. Unfortunately, dismissing this day and other occasions as ridiculous or pointless is not helpful in achieving equality. Rather, we should reflect in a solution-oriented way on how to use these opportunities and ask ourselves the question: What have I actually done since the last International Women's Day to move us one step further in the right direction?

Instagram: @statefree.world




OZEANA

Lisa May & Leticia Holzhauser, Founder of OZEANA

Tell us about your woman power, your business!

We are Lisa and Leticia - the founders of the jewelry label OZEANA. With OZEANA, we combine our passion for jewelry with doing something positive to preserve the world's breathtaking beaches and oceans. We handcraft part of our collection ourselves and generally focus on sustainability and quality.

In addition to donations and sponsorships, we would like to use our social media to draw attention to the ills of the oceans and provide tips for a more sustainable life.

We haven't launched our shop yet and are at the beginning of our journey - we are excited to see where it will take us together and invite you to experience the adventure with us!


Which woman in your life has particularly inspired you as a role model?

Lisa: My grandmother. Besides raising four girls, running her own business and being a loving wife, she managed to always be humorous, full of kindness and a thirst for discovery. When I think of her, my heart fills with warmth and security. Her taste in fashion still influences me today. Her passion was fashion! She always wore gold jewelry and was an absolute businesswoman for me even then! I keep a few pieces of jewelry and brooches in honorable and loving memory of my power woman, Grandma Elly.

Leticia: My mother. She immigrated to Germany when she was 18 and worked as an au pair for a German family. As a Frenchwoman, her first hurdle was to learn the German language without any school support.

14 years later, she started a bakery with my father, working tirelessly overnight and during the day. Yet, in addition to her professional 6-day week, she always managed to make her love for her children her top priority. She is the most reliable and hardest working person I know, no matter what, she is there at a moment's notice and always puts herself aside for others.

She is not only my mother, but also my biggest role model and person of the heart 🤍


Have you ever faced obstacles because of your gender?

Lisa: My mother taught me and my sisters at an early age to always go through life self-confident and strong. Nevertheless, in everyday working life you experience many patterns that you consider "normal". At my three employers, I always had a male supervisor. In the financial sector, the male dominance was clearly noticeable. This shows all the more why it is important that there is an International Women's Day. It makes you aware of social patterns that are strongly influenced by the male world. On the other hand, I see many strong women and I am convinced that we will not need an International Women's Day in the future!

Leticia: Yes, absolutely. In many everyday situations. For example, when you go to the car repair shop, you are often underestimated as a woman or not taken seriously - in the manner of "oh, she doesn't know any better anyway". In the end, my steadfastness saved me 400 € at the garage.

As a woman, you should have more confidence in yourself and not let yourself be held down.

Stand up for yourselves, ladies!

Instagram: @ozeana.official




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