Allison Bouganim On International Women's Day 2020
For International Women’s Day 2020, who better to ask for the future of what it means to be female than three Winners of Elite Model Look. These young women are breaking boundaries, starting by becoming the very first influencers to capture the judges imagination and to win top prize at the EML World Final 2019.
Allison Bouganim was Social Consciousness Award Winner at the EML World Final. She is an American artist living in Sweden. She works with women who have been the victim of sexual assault, she makes sculptures of the women’s butts and places them in public spaces with recordings of the women talking about the assault for passers by to listen to. With this work, she is breaking down taboos and sparking dialogue around assault, and drawing attention to the everywhere, every day nature of assault.
Read on to learn why she will be celebrating International Women's Day on 8th March - and why women should be more confident, speak in louder voices and take up more space in 2020.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day for me is one really special day that we get to celebrate the women in our lives, the women that we look up to, who are fighting for gender equality. All of the women who are making strides and trying to break the barriers down for other women to succeed, to excel in social, political and economic spaces. It’s really a day that we get to acknowledge and call to action for all of the women fighting for gender equality.
What does it mean to you to be a woman in 2020?
For me, being a woman in 2020 is super exciting. I think that in the past few years we have really seen a change in the conversation a change in the dynamic and we’re finally having a voice. We’re no longer silent we’re actually louder and we can’t be ignored which is super incredible.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
The advice that I would give younger self 10 years ago is just really be courageous. Don’t be afraid to be the only woman or girl in the room speaking, don’t be afraid to allow your voice to be heard, whether it’s in math class or in debate class, or if it is fighting in the larger context of injustice. Your voice matters, and it’s actually critical.
Who is your heroine?
For me, the women that inspire me every single day, my female icons, my heroines, it’s a mix between Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Roxane Gay. I think that these women are unified in the fact that they are using their voice to really create space for other women. They are using their stories of struggle, of inequality, of disparity, and they are using their current platform right now to create space for other women, and to really create a change in the government through storytelling and so I think those are really the people who inspire me every single day.
Which issue facing women and girls is most important in 2020?
The one issue that I would like to see changed in 2020 for women and girls is – it’s hard to choose just one – but I think that sexism, racism, economic inequality, all of these things are part of a larger context of just power imbalance. I think that those are systematic issues and power imbalance is one of the factors, and so I think that for me, seeing more women having representation, having voice at tables, and in conversations that actually matter, in policy-making, in positions of power, I think women’s voices are critical in positions of power in 2020 and going forward.