Google has rolled out its International Women's Day 2018 Google Doodle — a collaboration between 12 women artists from 12 different countries around the world, available for exploring all day March 8. Each artist contributed a comic strip sharing a personal story about a "moment or event that has impacted their lives as women," a Google representative tells Bustle. The Doodle "aims to celebrate our collective experiences, with all of their commonalities and differences."
Perla Campos, Product Marketing Manager on the Doodle team, tells Bustle that Google wanted to "bring forward unheard stories and voices" for 2018. The theme for this year's International Women's Day is #PressforProgress, which indicates a need to push for progress on closing the gender gap, and also pays homage to recent movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, according to the International Women's Day site.
For the artists, the meaning of International Women's Day is as personal as the meaning of their comic strips.
Tunalaya Dunn, an artist based in Thailand, tells Bustle that International Women's Day is "a day to remind us to move forward collectively," and says she hopes people walk away from her story "[feeling] a sense of unity and [realizing] the impact within themselves."
For Chihiro Takeuchi, from Japan, participating in the International Women's Day comic is "an opportunity to share the stories of Japanese women with the people all around the world, regardless of their age or gender and to inspire young women to change the new millennium for the better." She adds that she hopes her comic strip will tell people "that they are never too old or too young to challenge themselves with new activities, new jobs or new things to learn."
Isuri Merenchi Hewage from Sri Lanka tells Bustle International Women's Day is "a day that makes my heart happy to hear and see women all around the world say 'we're women, we're here, and we'll keep fighting.'"
Philippa Rice, who's based in the U.K., says she hopes her story, which, she tells Bustle, is "about how overwhelming it is to become a mother and how talking to others and sharing your troubles can make you feel better," will help others feel like they're not alone.
Laerte calls International Women's Day a "moment of celebration, learning, growing." The Brazilian creator tells Bustle she hopes her story will help people "see how our prejudices many times destroy meaningful possibilities in life."
South African Karabo Poppy Moletsane hopes the takeaway from her part of the Google Doodle is that "exclusionary rules or stereotypes should never deter someone from doing what they've always wanted to do, instead this should act as motivation to pursue their unconventional dream and be the pioneer that opens the door for those with similar dreams to follow suit."
Tillie Walden tells Bustle that she's "always been at peace with the idea that people will always take only what they want or need from my work, despite what my intentions may be." The American artist adds that she's not sure if there's anything she hopes people will specifically take away from her comic strip, but she does hope that "people simply get a chance to take a few minutes away from their own lives to dive into some art."
Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, who's based in India, says her comic is "about books and building worlds," and that she hopes her comic conveys a feeling of hope and strength, but adds that she'd "love to hear different interpretations as well of this wordless, slightly abstract tale."
"I don't want to teach anybody," says Anna Haifisch, from Germany. She adds, "This story hopefully works on an emotional level. A thing people hopefully take away [...] is that circumstances can change for the better even though the world might look like a dark and grim place sometimes."
About her piece, Mexican artist Estelí Meza tells Bustle, "I hope that women who are in this situation feel comforted and people are more sensitive to this reality."
Saffa Khan, who is a Pakistani immigrant to the U.K., says, "I want people to simply be able to visualize this small fragment of my most cherished memories of the home I had to leave behind."
And the Italian artist Francesca Sanna, who is based in Switzerland, tells Bustle that "the main aspect I wanted to convey with my story is how powerful and at the same time scary and difficult it can be to share one's own experiences." She adds, "[I]n the past year I fully appreciated the importance of sharing and the power of the connections between people — and between women — that [sharing] creates."