It’s that time again, March 8th, and somehow, I always feel obliged to say something profound about this day. International Women’s Day, a date commemorated at the United Nations and designated by many countries as a national holiday started in1908. Just a short 110 years ago, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.
Today, women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences are coming together to celebrate the stories of ordinary women as makers of history or as the disenfranchised. We have been doing a lot “coming together” this past year, haven’t we?
In the last 14 months, we have witnessed women’s marches, movements and loud voices saying repeatedly, “the days of inequality are over!” The data varies some, but the numbers are coming in around 15,000,000 marching, not 15,000 this time around, so our effectiveness in comparison to our famous suffragette sisters should yield a much greater impact. But, will it?
Political seats have not changed in terms of percentages, in actuality, we hold less of them. I still don’t see many women in the board room and it doesn’t appear that we are holding the purse strings in the business world. We do seem to be the most entrepreneurial with the numbers of small businesses on the rise which is commendable and right in line with the myth of the American dream. Though I applaud creativity and the notion of being “free” from the bindings of corporate America, it is big business that keeps all of us in the global economic game that ensures our freedoms and we can’t close our eyes to its importance.
So, I have ask…Who is piloting the ship girlfriends? Are you? And, if your answer is No, why aren’t you? Do you allow your 12-year old to drive you to your destination or do you take the wheel? We have a pretty serious problem on our hands and all we have to do is walk out the front door to see it. This is your chance, more than ever before to join the dance - not stay on the sidelines. There is no time for wallflowers or giving away your voice, and your experience, to others asking them to carry the torch for you.
The world needs women leaders, their multitude of talents and their wisdom. It needs your integrity and “eyes in the back of the head” mom know-how in big business to ensure transparency. It needs your steady hand and ability to multitask at city hall, it needs your diplomatic talents to bring together generations X, Y and Z in the workplace, just as you do each holiday season.
Most of all, it needs leaders who will draw on the collective wisdom of their teams to ensure sustainability, organizations that are as concerned with the welfare of the future generations as the bottom line. You have done this for lifetimes as the CEOs of your homes, now it’s time to put on your big girl panties and step out of your comfort zone and into a much bigger playing field.
But please, don’t forget that in the name of consensus and parity, we need the men to be on board, advocating with the same voraciousness as you are. Or else, we will not have the winning combination, where everyone leaves the table with the satisfaction that all parties are winners, that everyone received exactly what they came for. We need to appreciate their skills and talents as we show them ours. The recipe is not complete without all the ingredients.
Don’t wait for someone to invite you, it won’t happen, it hasn’t happened for generations. You must knock at the door unannounced and walk through it firmly with the knowledge that you have a job to do with not a minute to spare. You have a right to be at this new party. The shindig celebrating the right to vote is over, the suffragettes handed the torch to you. Do something with it so everyone has a new reason to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Copyright © 2018 Linda Lattimore