On March 8 we celebrate. We celebrate International Women’s Day around the world, to tell and retell the incredible stories of the women before us who paved the way through their achievements and sacrifices. Why is this storytelling so important? Because, ladies, it hasn’t always been this way. Honestly, my generation hasn’t done a very good job of sharing our war wounds and battle cries. We fought the fight and naively thought WE WON! However, among the new storytellers of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement, it is alarmingly and decidedly not so. I will continue to tell my story so that we all can remember what it was like.
- I remember when my first job was contingent upon my weight, appearance, and marital status.
- I remember being asked in an interview if I had children or if I was planning on having children, which very well could have impacted me being hired
- I remember sitting in a room full of peers that were men and being asked to get the coffee.
- I remember not being able to wear pants to work.
- I remember being the only female in the room, it was assumed that I would take the meeting notes.
Wait, There’s More
- Before 1968: it was legal to pay women less simply because of her sex
- Before 1972: a woman had to be married to obtain birth control
- Before 1972: women could be denied from participating in sports
- Before 1974: single, widowed or divorced women couldn’t obtain credit independently
- Before 1978: women could legally be fired for being pregnant
- Before 1993: women were not guaranteed their jobs after maternity leave
How are these stories and milestones relevant to today’s fight for equality? Because we remember the challenges and remember that we overcame them. We must leave a legacy for those following behind us. Today’s modern workplace demands for women are out of sync with reality and are a barrier for more women ascending the ranks. Women need equal pay. Currently, white women make 80% of what men do, African-American women 63%, Latina women 54%, and Asian-American women 87%. New mothers need support. The United States is 1 of 8 countries in the world that does not have paid maternity leave. Families need access to affordable childcare. The United States has the third-highest childcare costs for families.
Because I witnessed the “before” I absolutely believe that it is when we push towards progress and overcome these challenges we will finally shatter that ceiling. Let us honor the courage that has gotten us here and remember that there is still work to be done. We must share our stories, find our voices and support other women.