Believe Women, Empower Women, Love Women #IWD2018

March 09, 2018 • Personal

Yesterday, International Women’s Day, marked my 1 year anniversary of moving to San Francisco! I want to write something special for the ladies in my life who have supported me from the beginning til now!

I spent yesterday far less adventurous than moving across the country and was at my desk working, when I had the idea to illustrate a featured image for this post. Most people are familiar with my very linear, flat, cartoony style, so this illustration is a good representation of how I’ve transformed as a designer in one year!

My illustration for International Women’s Day 2018

My illustration was influenced by a flowy-style trend I’ve been seeing from design companies in SF. Check out this one below from Awsmd:

Take A Walk

๐Ÿ‘‰New illustration! ๐Ÿ‘ˆ Walking can do wonders for your body and soul. Getting outside for a walk will clear your mind and rest it. If you like my work, Show some love! Thanks

In flowy illustration, body proportions are generally distorted on purpose, which I used in my favor to show women in all sizes! I also gave it my own twist with geometric shapes to replace upper bodies. The most fun part was researching fashion for diversity – featuring an Asian, Muslim, White, and African American woman.

Do you like process GIFs/videos?

Believe Women.

Until 2 years ago, I hadn’t had any female friends since high school, and it was even a guy who told me I needed girls in my life. Believing in my own story and identity as a woman has been a huge challenge, but the most rewarding one. Since then, I’ve come to learn that most women go through similar challenges, and our mutual support in listening to and supporting each other is priceless.

Empower Women.

On my journey of believing women, I met some of the most “powerful” women in Silicon Valley. I used to work for weekly networking mixers, and I’ve participated in empowerment events i.e. a women-only hackathon. It all led to my current job at a non-profit that empowers girls to pursue tech, and it’s amazing to work with a team so passionate about it.

Love Women.

I love what I do, but often I feel powerless. I can believe and empower women, but I can’t always cause change. Sometimes I focus so much on being able to see things happen that I forget the most important part: love women. We don’t read a lot about just loving others since our society tends to focus more on achievement and tangible results. But isn’t our identity women first, everything else second?

Loving women can look like a lot of things:

  1. When I was in graduate school, my girlfriends would get together on Friday nights to spend time with each other. We often invited classmates and other friends to join us. It didn’t always have to be an intimate group where everyone knew each other well, because we just wanted to build a supportive sisterhood.
  2. I tried to start the same kind of women mentorship group in my Master’s program, but I had already graduated by then and I don’t know if the other ladies continued it. Grad students are already busy with both school and work.
  3. Five days after I moved to SF, I met my first friend, who convinced me to go on a women’s retreat with her church. I went, and met some ladies who would later become my support group in California.
  4. I’m an advocate of female roommates! My NYC roommate and I had to split a bedroom and I got her addicted to the Final Fantasy X soundtrack. I don’t think she knows what Final Fantasy is. Sometimes we took turns sitting in the living room to give the other person privacy, but it was really nice to always have someone right there to talk to if something was on my mind.
  5. Lastly, recently I’ve been calling my grandma once every other month just to chat with her. Our generation gap is huge and she grew up in a culture that least believes women. She doesn’t understand my non-profit work, but before moving to SF, neither did I!

I wouldn’t be here if I never learned that we need to believe and empower women. But no matter what I do to believe women and empower women, I can always love them better.

This post is intended for International Women’s Day, March 8th 2018, but was delayed since I’m working on my posting schedule. New posts every Friday – except for last Friday, because the power in my house got knocked down!

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9 Comments to "Believe Women, Empower Women, Love Women #IWD2018"

Georgie wrote on 9th March 2018 at 11:54 PM

Iโ€™m glad that over the past few years you have come to embrace your identity as a woman. I, too, feel like a lot of my adolescence was a struggle coming to terms with the strong and powerful person I believe I am today. I didnโ€™t have a lot of girlfriends either, or even just women I could relate to, until about two years ago, when I started going to meetups and meeting women working in the same industry as me. Just like you, I didnโ€™t realise how valuable being around women and women empowering each other could be.

I think the illustration is really good, and I love the colours and the deliberate use/slight exaggeration of shape. The first figure definitely reminds me of you haha. ๐Ÿ˜›

(To answer your caption, yes I do like process GIFs! Videos not so much, it depends on how long they are. GIFs would probably get the message across quite effectively since they tend to be shorter.)

I love that your anniversary of moving to SF just so happens to be International Womenโ€™s Day ๐Ÿ™Œ Your blog colour is really fitting for IWD too!

Hope your power is stable soon ๐Ÿ˜‰


Liv Reply:

Aw thank you for the lovely comment, Georgie. Our power was only out for two days, luckily.

HAHA. Oh I kind of see it now – I didn’t even realize it kind of looks like me. It’s been so long since I’ve had the snapback/cap look that I forgot! XD


Pauline wrote on 10th March 2018 at 7:54 AM

I’ve been seeing your work (like your newsletter) on Instagram and have to say that I am LOVING your illustrations and aesthetics. This one, especially for IWD 2018, is so beautiful! I love how they are realistic and covers different women – something that I am always going on about – because People of Colour / Women of Colour don’t get as much mention.

I love the work you’re doing in the tech scene, thank you <3


Liv Reply:

Thanks Pauline! Glad to hear my Instagram stories are doing the passive outreach for me. ๐Ÿ™‚


Sue wrote on 11th March 2018 at 8:17 AM

So proud of you Olivia! You’ve come a long way. Thanks for sharing about the women in your life. It’s great that you have a support group in CA, and you talk to your grandma.

I love your illustration of women. It does have a flowy moving feel, and it’s so colorful, and the colors go well together. I like the flat shadows and flat highlight on the first lady’s hat, and how you represented so many different body types, dress styles, and ethnicity. That gif is fun to watch too.


Liv Reply:

Thank you Sue. And as always, thank you for being one of the ladies in my life!


Claudine wrote on 26th March 2018 at 7:53 PM

I LOVE the illustrations and I love how it shows diversity – it makes every woman feel included and important. Well, that’s how I felt when I saw the illustrations! <3

Thanks for sharing your experiences too! I didn't have a lot of female friends or role models as a kid because I felt like I couldn't relate to the women being shown or portrayed as "beautiful" on television and movies. But when I found my identity and started to love myself for who I am, I just naturally gravitated towards people who shared the same interests and values – and I will forever cherish the precious support network I've gained.


Cat wrote on 27th March 2018 at 8:37 PM

Thanks for sharing your experience, Liv! And I really like the illustration you made! That’s such a neat style, and I like how diverse it is. (I do like process GIFs btw!)

I can relate to some of this because when I was in college, I had mostly male friends (especially being in Computer Science). I didn’t really see a need to have more female friends, but now I’m glad I do, and I’m also glad I can mentor other female developers at my work. I really like your list of how you show your love and support to women!


Caramella wrote on 17th April 2018 at 2:05 PM

Beautiful post and illustration!


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