Morrocan-American Iman Oubou holds the title of Miss New York in addition to being the founder of SWAAY, an online media platform set out to empower women in business through content that makes room for professionalism and glamor without compromising either. According to Ozy, the site is currently hitting 300,000 unique monthly visitors. The company was launched in 2016 with a focus on women entrepreneurs.
Oubou wants to do her part to contribute to the empowerment of women by covering stories that shine a spotlight on sexism in the workplace and, in particular, startup culture. She captures this with the hashtag #SWAAYthenarrative.
Ozy states that the SWAAYthenarrative initiative took shape in the wake of an op-ed Oubou wrote in 2017 for Harper’s in which she described a potential male investor asking if she’d worn her pencil skirt just for him. Additionally, she was continuously judged by her looks, oftentimes hearing that she is too pretty to be a CEO. “My LinkedIn and Facebook were flooded with messages from women talking about all these ridiculous experiences that were preventing them from pursuing a dream career,” Oubou says. “I realized then that my story was not the only one and that we had to build a narrative campaign to change the message and to start to erase sexist stereotypes.”
The goal for SWAAYthenarrative is to reclaim the narrative by presenting stories by 20 high-profile women who conquered sexist stereotypes in their careers.
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One contributor, Heather Monahan, a career coach for women, began writing for the platform and contacted Oubou to ask for additional career advice. Monahan told Ozy she was blown away by Oubou’s generosity: “She messaged me right back, gave me her cell and 45 minutes of her time. She’s constantly thinking about who she can connect with her platform.”
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