She is a fierce girl of color who was on a steady track until her dad died from Covid. She had to take on a second job and her anxiety started to take over. Her mentor was there to listen. And it helped. She is now thriving as a high school senior, already accepted to three colleges.
She is a Muslim first generation college student, afraid to raise her voice because women in her culture aren’t supposed to be heard. Her mentor encouraged her to journal and explore the cultural differences that made her uncomfortable. She wrote and wrote and wrote and was awarded a full ride college scholarship for her essay.
She is a brilliant girl from an orthodox Jewish community, where no girl had ever exceeded eighth grade. Her mentor found her a tutor to pass her GED and college entrance exams. She now has four full-time finance career offers in hand upon her graduation in May.
Can you imagine the power of unleashing all female potential? Can you imagine a world that provides access for all women to thrive and succeed? A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination? A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive? A world where difference is valued and celebrated?
Today on International Women’s Day, can you imagine with us?
Numerous reports have shown how the pandemic disproportionately affected women and their work over the past two years. One of the most sobering stats came from the 2021 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum, which showed how another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity as the global gender gap has increased from 99.5 years to 135.6 years.
Given the systemic barriers that hold women back and the current political environment charged to reduce women’s rights, it may feel like an uphill battle. Today, on International Women’s Day, ask yourself, “What can I do?” and be inspired to take action.
Below are three suggested actions that have immediate impact:
Mentor a girl. Mentoring can change a girl’s life. It’s uncommon for teen girls to talk to a parent, teacher, or counselor about life defining decisions. (Should I try vaping and see if it eases my anxiety? As my body changes, should I quit sports or play on? How can I keep up and build a stand out resume?) During adolescence, teens replace their parents with peers as key influencers and too many girls don’t have a positive adult influence in their life.
Too many girls don’t see what’s possible for them in college, career, or life. Programs, including LiveGirl’s She Cares, can pair you with a girl who needs you. As a mentor, you can support growth, help set goals, offer encouragement, make connections, and open doors. [Learn more here.]
Hire a female intern. Sexism and racism pervade all aspects of career readiness processes, from networking to hiring and promotion. 91% of collegestudents attain their internships through connections. It’s true that women have made great strides in the workplace, but in order for us to accelerate progress, we need every single woman and ally in the workplace to be intentional when hiring. Internships are the single most important experience in launching a young person’s career, and we must level the internship playing field. [Learn more.]
Ensure that your workplace is one where women can flourish. We’re all aware that gender norms emerge early and that stereotypes plague our culture and workplaces. But what do you do when a colleague talks over a woman in the meeting? What do you say when you hear colleagues discussing a person of color’s hair or appearance and describing it as unprofessional?
LiveGirl Partner Chris Andricopoulos, Managing Director at Northwestern Mutual, shared that at a recent company retreat, the question, “Would you want your daughter to work here?” was posed. His reflection led to a vehement personal commitment to do more to make his workplace one where women can flourish. After all, the only way we will change our culture is for all of us to demonstrate the courage to speak up and correct microaggressions and sexist behavior.
While achieving women’s equality may seem daunting, you can commit to these actions today. If we all do, we will collectively take a big step forward for women’s equality.
This letter has been approved by the LiveGirl Advisory Council and signed by the following members: Anne Buehl, Founding Partner, Rocaton Investment Advisors, Chair of the Advisory Council at Brown University’s Pembroke Center for Teaching & Research on Women; Indira Desai Christie, Business Executive, Strategic Consultant, Founder and CEO of Ripa Wear Inc.; Fran Hauser, Startup Investor, Keynote Speaker, and Bestselling Author of “The Myth of the Nice Girl” and “Embrace the Work, Love Your Career;” Shaz Kahng, Former CEO, Author, & Board Member at GoPro; Carol Morley, Founder & CEO at The Imprint Group; Simone Morris, Inclusive Leadership Expert, Podcast Host, Career Growth Expert; Joelle A. Murchison, Founder & Principal, ExecMommyGroup (EMG); Brooke Major-Reid, Chief Capital Officer at Affirm & Board Member at Anaplan; Sheri West, Founder & CEO at LiveGirl
LiveGirl is a Connecticut-based nonprofit girls leadership organization that builds confident, inclusive leaders.