On March 8, 2019 people all around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day and its 2019 theme: #BalanceforBetter. At it’s core, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a celebration of women– where we have been and what we have achieved socially, economically, politically, and culturally. However, in addition to celebrating how far we have come, IWD also calls us to look at how far we have yet to go on the path to gender parity, and what actions must we all take as individuals to increase the pace of progress?
There it is again, that word—feminist. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2012 TEDx talk, adapted to a published essay in 2014, she relays her early justifications of the term. “At one point, I was a happy African feminist who does not hate men and likes lip gloss and who wears high heels for herself and not for men,” she says. “That word is so heavy with baggage—negative baggage.”
There are a million different brands of feminists. There are a million different ways to express your beliefs, structure your family, pursue your career, or put your pants on as a feminist. And guess what? Each of us is still a feminist.
In October, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I won’t lie to you and tell you that I was doing daily meditations on the mountain and having an Eat, Pray, Love experience. It was, however, one of the most fun, exciting, and challenging experiences of my life. While I did a lot of physical training, I think the most useful training came in the form of another fun, exciting, and challenging experience—starting Gild Collective.
According to a study published on PayScale, the legal industry has one of the highest wage gaps not influenced by education or experience, as high as 38.6 percent. While this gap is outrageous at first glance and may appear to never close, there are some noticeable caveats to that statistic. First, while there are more women working in legal professions than men (at 68 percent), men dominate the higher-paying and higher-ranking legal jobs. This statistic also includes legal support workers, paralegals, and secretaries, which slightly skew the statistics because these lower-status jobs are more likely to be filled by women.
In November 2018 we had the opportunity to partner with ERS’ Young Professionals group to present a Building and Communicating Confidence workshop to kick off their offsite. We assisted the participants in articulating their strengths into their “30 second commercial” that will help them communicate their contributions with people in positions of influence. Then, we worked with participants to develop and practice personal and professional assertive communication strategies that can be used in various workplace situations, increasing their confidence in daily interactions with colleagues and supervisors.
Thanksgiving is an odd time of year, as in many ways it marks “the beginning of the end”. The end of the year, that is. It is a reminder to all of us to begin our processes of looking back on our year as it comes to a close, and to think of what we are most grateful for.
In November, we were invited to facilitate a rapid value-mapping session at the first Appointed training through the Women’s Fund. Appointed is a non-partisan initiative that “identifies opportunities for women to serve on civic boards and commissions, and empowers them to seek a seat at the table. We provide support and training opportunities, and are a resource available to connect elected officials to interested board candidates.”
Rachel traveled to Toledo to give a keynote address focused on Communicating as Champions for Gender Parity. Our session focused on effective communication about gender issues in the workplace and provided attendees with the tools and language needed to have meaningful, professional conversations with their colleagues and to act as allies for gender equity.
The paradoxical nature of motherhood, especially in the first year, is something that no one could prepare me for. This podcast helped me make sense of it.