As we think about International Women’s Day, I’d like to take a moment to mention the “foremothers” of the struggle for women’s equality: Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The two women started working together in 1851 and traveled all over the country and abroad, promoting woman’s rights. In 1888 they founded the International Council of Women and to this day, it is an organization that continues to advocate for women’s rights.
This year, as we reflect on our history and look to the future, I can’t help but think about my own past. The idea that a woman would be perceived as being unable to do anything a man could do was not something that I even remotely considered. My mom owned her own flower shop, and my grandmother was the sixth woman in the country to join the Navy during World War II.
On this International Women’s Day, I’d like to honor all the great women and men of the last many generations who supported the evolution towards gender equity against the more traditional voices of their era. Women all over the world, at a more accelerating pace than ever, are walking into corporate life and positions of economic empowerment. While we have more work to do to get to gender parity, today women are at the helm of some of our most powerful global institutions—which in turn empowers future generations. I’d also like to thank the good men that are part of the change. More and more men are refusing to be on panels that are not reflective of today’s diverse society. The men of our generation are helping to change the traditional power dynamic.
With #BalanceForBetter being the theme I also would like to take a moment to share thoughts about what this day means to some of the members of our incredible leadership team:
Nancy Cremins, Chief Administrative Officer & General Counsel
In a year where the US has seen the most significant progress toward a gender-balanced Congress, it is critical to remember how much more work we still must do to achieve a more gender-balanced world. The inclusion of women in all places of power and influence leads to better outcomes—for business, for government, and for society at large. To achieve a more balanced representation of women in positions of power and influence, we also need to set expectations that our society needs a more balanced representation of men in caregiving roles. Only when we expect both men and women to figure out how to balance the obligations of the home and the workplace will we be able to achieve more equitable participation of women in both of those places.
Debbie Millin, Chief Operating Officer
International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on how far we’ve come, and how much further we still must go. True balance is not just about being equitable in the workplace, but in all aspects of life. There are amazing women and men who are supporting this cause by doing everything from being a sponsor of a rising star at their company, to taking on the role of primary care taker for children or aging parents to allow their partners to thrive in their careers. It is exciting to see that this is a growing trend—though I look forward to the day when being a women-led company is more the norm instead of the exception.
While we have miles to go, we can certainly take a moment to raise a toast to our elders for the great work they did to get us this far. The best way we can honor their legacy is by committing to take the mission forward towards full equality for all people, of all genders, everywhere.