Sunday, August 28, 2016

Women's Equality Day

This week was special, albeit heavy. While highlighting the successes and the importance of women's equality, it reminded me of what feels like a never ending struggle.

On Tuesday, I saw my local community rally behind one woman because of her courage and bravery. Hope McMath has chosen to continuously fight for equity and inclusion. The support she received and the hope she provides has been a beautiful thing to watch. It is a powerful testament of our faith in her and our love for her. 

On Wednesday, I was one of 25 women who received the Jacksonville Business Journal's "Women of Influence" award. I was thrilled to see many men in the audience!  Usually, events for women draw a predominantly female crowd. I had the pleasure of meeting many of the past recipients and was humbled by their accomplishments. They are pioneers who have paved the way for other women and continue to do so through their tireless efforts. As one of the youngest recipients of the award, I understand the responsibility placed on me to continue to positively impact our community. You can read my profile for the award here.

On Thursday, TEDxJacksonville held Women Kicking Ass, one of our most popular events. The event sold out in under an hour, demonstrating the need for this important conversation. The panelists were authentic and honest. They provided great insight on what it means to be a leader in your community, your sector, or your organization. They advocated for women to actively pursue their goals. Most importantly, they reiterated that ceilings can be shattered. 

Friday was Women's Equality Day. In 1971, we designated August 26 Women's Equality Day to commemorate the 19th amendment, passed in 1920 to grant women the right to vote. The first Women's Rights Convention was held in Seneca Falls on July 19, 1848. It took us 72 years to earn the right to vote. 

On Saturday, I exercised my right to vote and took my nieces, who are ages 11 ad 14, to the polls with me. 

Seneca Falls was a milestone. The 19th amendment was a milestone. Our recognition of Women's Equality was a milestone. But it baffles me that women are still fighting for equality in 2016 after proving ourselves time and time again. Headlines like, "Facebook, Microsoft, Apple say they offer equal pay" are mind blowing because women have already proven the economics of women's equality. Research has shown conclusively that the more gender-equal companies are, the happier their labor force is. They have lower job turnover. They have an easier time recruiting. They have higher rates of retention, higher job satisfaction, and higher rates of productivity.

We are headed in the right direction. We should celebrate every step forward. But we are far from equality and there is a lot more work to be done. 

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