And because today is International Women’s Day (IWD), I am sharing a post from Forbes –an amazing read, really. Tami Forman is absolutely right: women deserve to be celebrated, rewarded and supported to achieve more in living a fulfilling life with loads of legacies. I am so dedicating this read to my special friend –ogunleti Azeezat, founder of Youth Art Initiative. For your information, Tami Forman writes about how to have a high-achieving career and a joyful life. You will sure ENJOY her.
TAMI FORMAN –This year as International Women’s Day approaches, the emotion I find myself feeling most strongly is hope. And joy. There’s still plenty to worry about when it comes to women’s rights around the world. Still, there is a lot of good news lately. Women and girls are making progress. And they are making progress in ways that specifically should increase the momentum of progress in the coming year — and for years to come.
For starters, women are, in record numbers, pursuing political power by running for office. Remember when 1992 was dubbed The Year of the Woman because 4 women were elected to the Senate — the first time “that many” had achieved a Senate position in a single election year? So far this year 500 women have announced their intention to run for office in 2018. And another trend that has far-reaching implications: women are running for office at all levels, including local and state races, which creates a powerful bench of women who will be poised for higher-level seats in future election years.
But politics is not the only source of power in the US. More women, and more mothers, are starting and leading businesses. Did you all see when StitchFix went public with their CEO holding her 14-month-old son? Do you know about Michelle Zatlyn — the cofounder of Cloudflare, a company with a billion dollar valuation, who also happens to be a mom to two young children? And while these high-profile women are definitely worth cheering, there are also more and more women starting businesses of all sizes as a way to define and achieve success on their own terms. When more women run small businesses, it can lead to changes across the corporate landscape for years to come.
That said, there is still more work to be done. This year’s campaign theme for IWD is #PressforProgress and I think that’s perfect. By continuing to press forward we can turn the momentum of this moment into an unstoppable force for positive change. I think there are two important ways we can push progress, neither of which gets as much attention as I think they should.
First, I think we need to do more to specifically help mothers progress in the workforce. Research has found that motherhood is a direct cause of women’s lack of career progress and unequal pay. This has implications for all women, because the vast majority of American women do become mothers (80% are mothers by 45) and research also shows that even childless women are penalized by the same bias that assumes all women will become mothers. Many programs focus on “women” but ignore the challenges faced by mothers and the implications it has for everyone. I think this is a mistake. I think if we were to start to have a conversation about what would make work better for mothers we could open up more opportunities for all women. I also believe that the changes that need to happen to make work better for mothers would create saner and more humane workplaces that would benefit childless women and men, too. Truly everyone would win.
Second, I think we all need to do more to support and celebrate men who make family a priority. It might seem odd in a column about supporting women to talk about men, but it’s not. As long as masculinity is defined in a narrow way, the drive to fulfill that definition through breadwinning will continue to be a counterweight to women more fully realizing their ambitions. When men are encouraged to find better work/life balance it will create more space for women to realize their potential and for men to be full participants in their family life.
My view of the world is that everyone would be better off if all people could live rich lives that include a balance of professional achievements and personal passions. It’s my hope that the IWD’s push for progress will encourage both women and men to have a different conversation that would lead us in that direction.