At PayPal, our mission is to allow everyone to be able to fully and fairly participate in the global economy, and we understand that women’s financial inclusion and economic empowerment are key to building prosperous and resilient communities. As we kick off Women’s History Month and approach International Women’s Day, we’d like to celebrate the achievements of women and reflect on the urgent need to accelerate gender equity around the world.
We recently spoke with three women whom we’ve had the opportunity to work with:
These women shared how they defy expectations, reflected on their accomplishments, and offered advice for other women working to fulfill their ambitions.
The theme for International Women's Day this year is #BreaktheBias. Can you tell us how you've defied expectations or have had to call out bias in your own life?
Yanique: As a first-generation college student who studied in a foreign country, biases are nothing new and have helped to make me a stronger person with time. A recurring bias I’ve experienced, particularly in the workplace, has been the objectification of women. I strive to call out bias by vocalizing when comments or behaviors are inappropriate, and help to minimize future bias by mentoring young men and women to identify and understand some of these challenges.
Fabiana: I was born in a really poor region of São Paulo in a humble family with a lot of limitations. I never was encouraged to study. To my parents, a woman just needs to know how to take care of a house. I remember how some teachers would secretly give me books so I could read and learn more. I remember the hours studying alone in a public library and the amazing experience of reading my books under the quilt made by my mom. My life was different because I found a way to escape – books. Culture and art changed my life, and I really believe these things can change anyone’s life in any situation.
Florencia: When I look back on my life, I proudly see what I’ve been able to achieve, but also some of the sacrifices I’ve had to make. As I’m raising my children (my daughter in particular), I think a lot about my path, and what learnings I can give them. I think the most important thing to do is to find mentors or accept those that come along and want to help you through.
Can you tell us about one of your greatest accomplishments that you're particularly proud of?
Yanique: I am from a culture where we consider education the foundation for everything. In Jamaica, “learning your book” is a daily mantra. One of my greatest accomplishments, if only for the pride it evoked from my parents, is earning my bachelor's degree, then my master's degree – an achievement that was not even on my radar. I am thankful for all the persons who recognized my true potential and helped guide me through that educational journey. It helped me to recognize the value of being a lifelong learner.
Fabiana: I’m really proud of two things in my life: my kids and my work. Both grew up together. I started making quilts with babies in my arms. I’m very proud to know that my projects and my classes brought a different life to many women in my country, and I love to know how my work influenced my kids. They are such amazing, creative people, with so much love and respect.
Florencia: As a child, I always wanted to travel for work or to have a job that allowed me to get to know the world, and I’ve accomplished a lot of that. I’ve worked across four locations, have lived in three cities in three countries, and have been able to get to know a lot of different people. I also love that my kids can see me work and know that it’s normal for both mum and dad to work. I hope this will make it easier for my little girl to fulfill her career ambitions.
What advice would you give to other women who are working to fulfill their ambitions?
Yanique: It can be done, and you can do it! It will take time, patience, grit, tears, disappointment, anger, resources, everything you may have, and more, but you can do it. If it is something you simply cannot overlook or set aside, your only decision should simply be to get it done.
Fabiana: Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start your plans – try it now! With mistakes, you learn that life and time will help you to find the solutions. The most important thing you need you already have – the desire. And lastly, put love and respect on the top of the list of your plans!
Florencia: Trust your instincts. Find mentors and take their advice, and don’t let anyone talk you down. And enjoy the ride!
PayPal’s Commitment to Gender Equity
Women have made major strides in achieving economic equity over the last several decades, but the COVID-19 pandemic has unfortunately reversed some of these trends. To help shape an equitable economic recovery, we believe we have a responsibility to expand the role and participation of women in the financial system and the global economy.
In June of 2021, during the Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering for gender equality convened by U.N. Women, PayPal pledged over $100 million to advance the financial inclusion and economic empowerment for women and girls. The commitment includes several external and internal investments over the next five years, which you can read more about here.
PayPal also has a longstanding track record of advancing gender equity within our workforce, including maintaining 100% gender pay equity globally since becoming an independent company and providing strong family leave policies. We also advocate for the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and have been recognized by the National Partnership for Women and Families for our parental leave, family care leave, and sick leave policies.