Reading my submission from last year, published on the 5th of March 2020, unaware of what was to come, it included the lines “looking forward, I hope to see the standards of inclusivity and accessibility at events continue to rise” and “I hope the rest of your year includes a strong community”.
And in some ways, it absolutely did. With the moving of events online, this year more people than ever were able to access talks from amazing speakers from across the world on a whole range of topics. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is Choose to Challenge, but this past year has already been challenging us all. We know that women have been disproportionately impacted by COVID and we can all lend our support to the community around us in helping those impacted however we are able. As folks are starting to plan physical events, I hope we can keep the increase in accessibility and inclusivity practices that virtual events have enabled.
On a personal note, my 2020 plans were as follows:
As for me, I am spending the rest of this year with the challenge of coding my own book blog from scratch to share the numerous books I read in my spare time and with the hope of connecting with a new community.
Did I complete this? Absolutely not! Whilst it’s true that I have been reading a lot and talking about books with my friends, I realised I had no interest in starting a blog post and adding any pressure to experience books in a way which had to be shared with others afterwards after all! I’m okay with having changed my goals, in the space of the last year I have gained skills in coding, got accepted into a Digital Anthropology masters course starting in September and applied to join a mentoring programme for community managers. We need to normalise goals changing and not being achieved for whatever reason.
My message for others is to take time to rest amongst challenging situations, protect your energy and if you have some to lend, spread it around your community to those who could benefit. I think of the women in my company and the folks who support us, ally themselves with us and spend their time challenging to make for better futures and I feel grateful for my community. To reiterate from last year, utilise your sphere of influence, spot where you can make a difference and start there, take on an intersectional approach and be proactive about recognising and using your privilege and resources to include others.