I am thrilled that my first blog post for The Giving Keys is in honor of Women’s History Month. In many ways it’s been a good year for women - particularly women in business - with ladies claiming their rightful leadership positions across the board(room). There are currently five candidates for the presidency of the United States who are female. In October, the Governor of CA signed a law that requires public companies with principal executive offices in California to add women to their boards of directors. A record 24 percent of Congress is female! Women own close to TEN MILLION businesses.
It’s in the path of pioneering women like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Lupita Nyong’o, Margaret Atwood, Tarana Burke and Amal Clooney, as well as our mothers, grandmothers, sisters and aunts that these strides have been made.
Even more incredible is that many of these amazing working women are mothers. Seventy percent of mothers with children under 18 participate in the labor force, with more than 75 percent employed full-time. Mothers are the primary or sole earners for 40 percent of households with children younger than 18.
Even with all of this progress and the ever-growing contingent of working moms, there is still more to be done. Women still earn about 80 cents for every dollar a man makes, women are twice as likely as men to say they have experienced gender discrimination at work and are four times as likely as men to say they were treated as if they were not competent because of their gender. Women who work still have responsibility for most of the household tasks.
When we think about how to help women achieve equality, we talk a lot about pay parity and family leave, the policies that help women extend from the workplace and into all aspects of her life, so we should also be supportive of solutions for universal child care and the expansion of after school programs. There is so much innovation in the workplace, let’s push for adaptable environments that can accommodate the presence of children who might have no option but to accompany their parent to work occasionally.
Daily we can find examples of women defying stereotypes and creating the world they want to see. Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s first female artistic director, Stacey Cunningham the first female president of the New York Stock Exchange, Anne Wojcicki, the co-founder and chief executive officer of 23andMe and Catherine McKenna, Canadian human rights and social justice lawyer, and Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
As we take time this month to reflect on how far women have come and they amazing things they have achieved, let’s also look to creating flexible and mutually respectful environments that ensure we are supported to reach our full potential now. Let’s advocate for the policies and programs that will help ensure our fierce and fearless daughters ROAR!
-Michelle Stevenson of The Giving Keys