Raising girls has made me impatient. The slow progress that women have made toward gender equality means my daughters will enter a workforce in which women continue to earn considerably less than men in virtually every occupation.
The pace of advancement for women is painfully slow. So slow in fact, that if it continues at the same pace as the last fifty years, my granddaughters will face the same reality.
Compare this pace to the major cultural shift that took place around smoking in public. Most of us can easily remember a not too distant past in which it was common to smoke on airplanes, in office buildings, in schools, even in hospitals. In fact, it was only six years ago that Michigan’s Smoke-Free law was passed, and most people already find it incomprehensible that we once smoked in bars and restaurants. Yet the Equal Pay Act was passed in 1963 and women still only make 78 cents for every dollar earned by a man in the same profession.
If one of my daughters was asked to join the board of a Fortune 500 company, she would likely be the only woman at the table. If one of my smart, talented, ambitious daughters ran for political office, she would again find herself in the minority.
I don’t want to wait two or three more generations for this to change.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do think one key component to increasing the pace of change is women supporting, encouraging, promoting and celebrating other women. We are lucky to have a number of female CEOs and community leaders in our local region, and I am as invested in their success as I am my own.
Join me in relentlessly promoting the contributions women make in our community, in our country and in the world. They are all around you, and too often go unnoticed. Boldly recognize your own accomplishments and those of the women around you. Let’s work together to increase the pace of change, so that the next generation of women forget that there was ever a time when they were anything less than equal.