Bailly Coons is a marketing manager at Trintech. For Women’s History Month, we asked Bailly a few questions about her commitment to helping forge a gender equal world and support the women around her.
How have generations of women in your family before you impacted the work you do in your job and/or your community?
My family is made up of women who have held various roles throughout their lives – from stay at home moms to not having any children, from working full-time and part-time across many different fields to volunteering and pursuing unique hobbies and more. I consider myself very fortunate to have seen so many examples of how life can be lived and I was always supported in finding my own path. I don’t remember many times where I wasn’t encouraged to try something new or take my own route in life. Overall growing up with strong women throughout my life definitely impacts the work I do today. (Thankfully I also inherited their stubborn gene!)
At the core, every woman I look up to is hardworking and determined. Following their examples certainly plays a significant role in how I approach my life. To this day I carry the lessons I saw lived out by these women and do my best to set the same example for the women I encounter in my career and personal life.
How will you help forge a gender equal world?
As many things do, change starts with conversations and awareness. But to truly drive lasting change, I believe it is critically important to choose to live life in a way that promotes gender equality through the everyday, ordinary things. It is proven that consistent action, no matter how small, will compound to create a bigger impact. If I consistently make choices each day to challenge stereotypes, nurture conversations, lead by example and push boundaries in at least one small way, I’m confident that a year from now I will have made a difference.
How do you plan to support the IWD 2021 campaign theme: #ChooseToChallenge?
In support of the IWD 2021 theme #ChooseToChallenge, I will continue to actively seek out opportunities to support the women in my life by challenging them to get out of their comfort zone.
When we approach a friend that’s putting off a hard conversation, a co-worker struggling to find her place or a family member holding back on her biggest dream, consistent support can really make meaningful impact. Simply saying “you can do it” when someone is having a low day isn’t enough – you sometimes have to be willing to nudge others beyond their comfort level in order to truly support them in becoming the best version of themselves.
I encourage everyone to think of someone in their life that may be holding themselves back because of their gender. Now, reach out to that person, start a conversation about what’s stopping them and give them a loving push to take the next step. Then walk alongside them to be a shoulder to lean on or the voice of reason when it gets hard.
Doing this consistently can change their life (and yours) and will certainly create a ripple effect for other women in both your lives.
How do you #ChooseToChallenge the taboos related to the theme of women that you wish were broken?
I was recently speaking with my husband about work attire and how it differs for each of us. During the conversation it was interesting to hear how different his perspective was. As women, there is a certain expectation of how we dress and what perception that gives – especially in the workplace. While I’m not someone who is naturally into fashion trends, I’ve always felt a certain expectation to dress for various everyday instances where ideally it should not matter as much. Dressing differently for work and a day at the beach makes total sense but the additional layers women are judged on beyond the basics is what I wish was broken.
For example, if someone who typically wears dark jeans and a button up to work needed to give an important presentation that could impact their job significantly, gender would certainly play a role in what they decided to wear. A man in this scenario may simply add a nice sport coat to his attire and it would be perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, a woman giving the same presentation would likely feel the need to do more than add a blazer to her outfit in order to ensure the audience doesn’t discount her presentation based on appearance. It’s an unfounded pressure based on a taboo of social customs that don’t align with what really matters in my opinion.
I will #ChooseToChallenge this by working on finding ways to take the pressure off myself in these scenarios and encouraging other women to do the same. If our talents are only recognized when our appearance is ‘acceptable’ it’s time to find a new audience.