I’m seeing RED. Women, please come back to work today…we need you.
Isn’t it “funny” (haha), how in the supposed good-ole days, you were expected to stay at home, take care of the kids, wash the clothes, clean the house, and make sure you looked pretty when the man came home from work? You know, the funny thing (haha again) is that you really are quite capable of doing just that, we’ve watched it for generations. It’s no small job, that’s for certain. And in my opinion, there’s absolutely no shame for a woman who is the stay-at-home CEO, commandeering all those duties, playing mom and wife, all while managing hundreds of other things that make a family and a house “run”.
But my goodness, has the male species really noticed the contributions of women in the workforce? Now I’m not down for male bashing, that doesn’t serve any purpose in my book, but seriously, let’s take a moment to recognize the influence, empowerment, and the legacy women have on our workforce, economy, and more.
According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, there are 126 million women operating new businesses and another 98 million leading already established businesses. And yet, in spite of these large numbers, women consistently work within a huge equality gap. According to the 2016 Gender Gap Report, the economic gender gap has reverted back to where it stood in 2008. In other words, we’ve gone backwards since the peak of closing the gender gap in 2013.
It seems to me that women are doing all they can to contribute to our world. They’re entrepreneurs, top-notch athletes, business leaders, executive coaches, and we just witnessed Hillary Clinton as the first woman vying for the spot of the most powerful leader of the free world, as President of the United States.
There’s no doubt, there have been tremendous strides in equality, but to be honest, I think it’s required too much fight to get where we are. Look at Rosa Parks, she changed the world, and helped further the cause of race relations. What a tremendous woman of bravery! How about Mia Hamm? She put USA soccer on the world map, and inspired little girls all over the US with the freedom to compete ferociously in sports at the highest level. Have you met Tory Burch? She has created a women’s designer clothing empire that empowers women. Tory has set up processes that help develop other female entrepreneurs by helping them access capital that is often guarded by discriminatory regulations and ingrained gender bias. She also provides ongoing support and education.
How about Condoleeza Rice? She was the first female African-American Secretary of State and the second female Secretary of State (after Madeleine Albright). Rice was President Bush’s National Security Advisor during his first term, making her the first woman to serve in that position. She pioneered policy that not only shaped the United States, but also served nations all across the world, and particularly in the Middle East.
Carly Fiorina served as the CEO of Hewlett-Packard, and was the first woman to lead a Top-20 company as ranked by Fortune Magazine. She also recently ran for President of the United States. Brené Brown consults and coaches people, organizations, and businesses all over the world, teaching them leadership principles that allow people to lead from a place of vulnerable strength. She helps us live deeply, and lead boldly. Becky Hammon paved the way as the first female coach in the NBA for the San Antonio Spurs, and was quickly followed by Nancy Lieberman’s hiring by the Sacramento Kings. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Queen B (Beyoncé), have enormous followings, and they have the business sense to mobilize their groups for great causes.
No one can deny the power of Oprah Winfrey (who is known worldwide simply as “Oprah”) and her ability to shape our world. How about Indra Nooyi, who serves as the CEO of PepsiCo, and has won back to back listings as the “World’s Most Powerful Woman.”
And what about Malala? In 2012, 15-year-old Malala and her friends were travelling home from school when a masked gunman entered their school bus and asked for Malala by name. She was shot with a single bullet, which went through her head, neck and shoulder. She survived the attack, and today, speaks all over the world on women’s rights for education. She won the Nobel Peace Prize, and donated her entire prize money of more than $500,000 to financing the creation of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan.
I could go on with hundreds of names in various businesses, spaces, and places all over the world, so please forgive me for missing other obvious women leaders. But for the sake of time, I think you get the picture.
We have tremendous women leaders in business, the arts, politics, sports, the military, education, every other sector that men work, AND in the home. And here’s one simple question. Why as a human race, would we accept any system or way of thought that keeps another human down, and prevents them from being treated as an equal?
For all the contributions that women have and are giving to our way of life, we are a better and more complete society. There is a way to stop all the “fight” that is being put up toward equality…and that’s to give credit where credit is due, to give the same respect to everyone no matter their sex, to offer equal education, to offer equal access to capital, and to give equal pay for the same work done regardless of sex.
Women should be empowered to embrace ambition, to create, innovate, excel as leaders, to be strong, to be visionaries, to be tough, and to live the life they want to live…all while playing on a level field.
So who are some of the women that inspire you? Are you seeing RED yet?
Ben Olson is the Chief Technology Officer of Essium, a premiere software company that has developed a revolutionary, customizable, onboarding compliance platform named PRYDE. Designed to help HR personnel conquer onboarding challenges, PRYDE helps assimilate new employees, and retain personnel long-term.