( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Gen Z Trio Creates FemZquared to Uplift, Empower, and Connect Gen Z Women
ENSPIRE Contributor: Megan Sydow
In 2020, life changed for people worldwide. Quarantine and lockdowns kept us inside, giving us time to spend on social media while the pandemic began to run its course. During this time, Klementyna Bohdanowicz, a student enrolled at NYU, collaborated with two of her friends, Karine Bruce-Doe and Zion Epperson, to create FemZquared, a platform for Gen Z women meant to be an authentic side of social media.
With how fabricated social media can be, they aimed to create an environment free of filters and colored lenses. FemZquared—pronounced fem-squared—highlights the accomplishments of women and creates opportunities for them to grow. FemZquared has featured over 100 women, organized seven virtual events, and reached over 1000 women through said events. Klementyna hopes to expand even further in the future so these numbers will grow.
Klementyna always had an idea to start something that focuses on female empowerment, but fruition finally took place when the pandemic began. Constant exposure to social media and subconscious comparisons she was making between herself and others played a role as well.
“Social media is definitely selective in what is posted,” she said. “People tend to post happy content instead of what is real and because of that social media tends to only portray positive things, which is great, but, to me, it cultivates an unhealthy image of what your life should look like.”
With this in mind, the first step Klementyna took was reaching out to her friends at the time and asking them one question: what do you consider your biggest accomplishment? The answers to these questions varied from personal strides to professional feats they had overcome, and once she accumulated them, Klementyna shared them on FemZquared. Her goal was to create a space for Gen Z women to see authenticity in a society where social media creates an artificial image.
“I just always wanted to start something that would empower other girls because I started to talk to my friends at the time and find out that it’s not just me—there are so many young women who are struggling with this issue.”
FemZquared began as a place to share genuine stories from Gen Z women but became interactive for their audience soon after. One of the biggest events they held was Girls Code Fest, a virtual event spanning three Saturdays in March 2021 that emphasized women in STEM.
“It was basically a STEM conference and we invited a bunch of women who were leaders in things like engineering,” Klementyna said. “We co-organized with this start-up out of Sweden called imagiLab…and we were able to reach [both] very young girls and girls at universities.”
In this event, the co-organizers invited guest speakers that specialized in software engineering, data science, and product design; they also hosted interactive workshops centered around the same topics. Women ages 13 to 30 were in attendance, and the experiences they had directly impacted a lot of them—some of them even saying that STEM was something they wanted to explore more of afterward.
The impact of that event and FemZquared, in general, is not just felt by the audience but also by Klementyna herself. The vulnerability that some people tap into is inspiring to her and makes her happy that she can contribute to women realizing their worth.
“I just feel empowered every day to read these stories and I’m just always so happy to see so much diversity and so many people who actually open up, which is pretty amazing,” Klementyna said.
What Lies Ahead
The future of FemZquared is full of possibilities. In the short term, Klementyna would like to orchestrate more events and combine what she does in her day job—which involves NFTs and crypto—with FemZquared. Her long-term goals are to eventually become a foundation that offers scholarship opportunities to girls.
“I think it’s really important to have this platform that really shows that you should appreciate who you are and what you do and not be so hard on yourself for not doing certain things,” Klementyna said. “I think it’s important to remind people, especially young people because I feel like they have a totally different perspective and might make their self-esteem worse.”
With a goal to be genuine and authentic, FemZquared fosters a space for empowerment, while uplifting and connecting Gen Z women. FemZquared breaks the mirage social media puts up and shows women that it’s okay to not be okay. With an ambitious and bright future ahead, FemZquared aims to reach even more girls in the years to come.