Written by Veronica Bernardo
The month of March was nationally recognized as Women's History Month for the first time in 1987. In addition to our very own month - because of how historic we truly are - every year on March 8th, the world celebrates the countless achievements women from different cultures and backgrounds across the globe have accomplished on International Women’s Day. This day serves not only as a celebration of our triumphs, but an opportunity to shed light on the gender inequality that still exists in countries all over the world. The marches and rallies organized on this day every year urge us to continue the work society still has left to do to provide women with the socio-economic, political and cultural opportunities we deserve.
For the general population of women, the new challenges presented by the Coronavirus Pandemic dramatically affected their everyday life. With schools being closed, many mothers and caretakers had to sacrifice not only time, but for some even their jobs, to take care of their children and assist with their at home education. In fact, in the United States alone, mothers employed and at work dropped about 6% in 2020. As discussed in our blog post in January, turning over a new leaf for the new year is important for all of us. Setting new goals and challenging ourselves in ways we probably didn’t foresee. After the difficult year that 2020 turned out to be, with Coronavirus turning the world upside down, it is important that we regroup and celebrate the achievements that have been made, despite the hardship.
A major stride for not only the United States of America, but the world at large, was inaugurating Kamala Harris as the new Vice President in January 2021 alongside President Joe Biden. Finally, in 2021, women are being properly represented in the White House! Vice President Harris holds the title as being America’s first female vice president, the highest-ranking female official in U.S. history, and the first African American and first Asian American vice president. It may have felt like a long time coming, but to finally see a woman’s voice really emphasized in this way in this country was such an inspiring sight to see.
The sports industry saw a similar breakthrough for women this year. Major League Baseball, more specifically the Miami Marlins, named Kim Ng the team’s General Manager. This title makes Ng the first woman to hold this title in MLB history! The glass ceiling surrounding women in sports is nothing new. As a male dominated industry, women involved in sports know the difficulties we sometimes face to progress. Clearly qualified and ready for the job, Ng held various executive positions for three decades with multiple teams in the league including the Chicago White Sox, the Yankees, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ng was in a league of her own, learning everything there was to know about the sport and being interviewed for GM positions across the league. It wasn’t until Derek Jeter, who valued diversity in shaping the Marlins organization as the team's Chief Executive and part-owner, decided to break the gender barrier that Ng got her shot. Needless to say, when she finally got her offer this year, it was well deserved.
The year 2020 was anything but ordinary, but still women persevered and continue to make history! As we hit the third month into the new year, during the month that celebrates strong women, I hope we continue to challenge the obstacles that stand in the way of equality. According to the International Women’s Development Agency, the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” As women, we need to educate ourselves and the companies we work for. How many female CEO’s do you see? Do you have equal opportunity to advance as your male counterparts? We’ve still got work to do. We’re not quite there yet, but using what we know to raise our voices makes the difference.
I want to challenge myself, and the women around me to strive for more. Making goals is easy, so try breaking those goals down into weekly obligations to easier hold ourselves accountable. Make better efforts to schedule networking calls with the intention of making new connections, or reconnect with existing individuals in your network. Utilize the month dedicated to celebrating our success to empower ourselves and others! After all, nothing worth having comes easy.