This Was The Year Women Found Empowerment In Hashtags

The hashtag, that social media beacon, was got a lot of women thinking about — and acting on — a whole lot of issues in 2015.

Here are some of our favorites:


It started with an Instagram troll, who thought Isis Anchalee, an engineer in San Francisco, was too good looking to know code. She was part of OneLogin’s campaign to highlight the diversity of the staff; her photo was featured in ads on the subway.

Anchalee took to a blog to tell folks, yes, she was an engineer, and, no, stop calling her out as if her looks mean she isn’t smart enough.

The response was astounding, as female engineers posted photos of themselves using the hashtag to show the world that women in tech come in all shapes and sizes. Since then, Anchalee has spoken to groups and helped organize a billboard campaign highlighting women in tech.


The #ilooklikeanengineer campaign is similar to a hashtag created in June in response to a male scientist who told an audience at a conference that the “girls” in his lab cried when criticized and tended to fall in love with him. That guy had to leave his position on a prestigious research council.


Lane Bryant launched a campaign in the fall to put body shaming to shame, featuring plus-size models in lingerie strutting their stuff. This was Lane Bryant’s second hashtag push. The first, used in 2014, was #imnoangel, in response to Victoria Secret’s skinny models. The hashtag got a lot of attention — and a bit of pushback from women who felt the models still didn’t look like the chain’s customers.


That’s the battle cry of “CODEGIRL,” a documentary that debuted on YouTube about a coding competition featuring teen girls. Producer Lesley Chilcott hoped to get 50,000 views of the film. One million views later, the movie was deemed a success, and more is being done to get young women into coding.


During awards season, men and women on the red carpet usually get asked, “Who are you wearing?” Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization launched a hashtag campaign to get interviewers to ask smarter and more relevant questions about acting and the arts. Comedian Amy Schumer, actor George Clooney and others answered thoughtful questions funneled to them through social media.


The Limited enlisted this hashtag on Instagram as part of a campaign highlighting female entrepreneurs and their stories of success— while helping the retail chain sell its revamped work clothing.


Days before The Wall Street Journal published the first of many damning articles about her company, Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes launched a worldwide initiative to bring more women into the tech and computer science fields. Fans of Holmes, inspired by her words during the launch (“beneath every glass ceiling is an iron woman”) and her story of seemingly quick success in developing a new and almost painless way of doing blood tests, created the hashtag to spread the word.

Source: Upstart Business Journal (Bizwomen), Betsey Guzior
Photo: OneLogin’s Isis Anchalee responded to critics who thought she was too good looking to be an engineer by launching a hashtag, #ilooklikeanengineer, that other female engineers have embraced. (Courtesy of Isis Anchalee)