2016 is shaping up to be a year of epic progress for women and girls…and we are less than 40 days in!
In case you haven’t been keeping a running tally like I have, here are the highlights:
1) Obama announced in a press conference new rules aimed at leveling the “paying field”. Women earn $0.79 on the dollar compared to men in the same position. For women of color, the numbers are significantly worse. Now, companies with 100 employees or more will be required to report to the federal government how much they pay their employees broken down by race, gender, and ethnicity.
Transparency and accountability are key to fair pay. WIN!
2) The White House announced it will host a summit on “The United State of Women” on May 23rd. “The Summit will rally all of us together to celebrate what we’ve achieved, and how we’re going to take action moving forward.” Topics covered will include: Economic Prosperity, Health and Wellness, Educational Opportunity, Violence Against Women, Entrepreneurship, and Leadership and Visibility.
Community (public & private sector, women & men) is key to moving forward faster. WIN!
3) Obama pledged $4 Billion for Computer Science education in all schools. It just blows my mind that we teach biology, chemistry and physics in our schools, yet there is no national CS curriculum. Tech jobs make up the fasting growing sector of the US economy – and they are high-paying jobs. As the stats show, these jobs go to white men – and mostly middle to upper class white men. We need to get more girls interested in technology and coding. We also need to address/eliminate the unconscious bias we (parents, teachers) have that tells our girls “computer science is for boys.” In addition, we must bring technology and CS to low-income neighborhoods.
More people learning Computer Science will make our entire economy stronger. WIN!
On the heels of these epic announcements, I attended the AOL MAKERS Conference this past week. If you are not familiar with MAKERS, it is a women’s leadership platform that highlights the stories of groundbreaking women today to create the leaders of tomorrow. MAKERS has created the largest collection of women’s stories ever assembled, which encompasses broadcast documentaries, web and mobile-first video content, and live events. When you finish reading this post, I implore you to immediately go to the Makers site and explore/watch it ALL. I have spent hours on the site – and am a better and smarter person, as well as a stronger, more impactful businesswoman, for it.
The MAKERS conference, put on by Dyllan McGee, Sammi Leibowitz and a tireless crew of AOL and MAKERS staff, was the most inspirational and impactful conference I have ever attended (and I attend a lot of events/conferences). The list of female rockstars that spoke was exceptional: THE Gloria Steinem, America Ferrera, Sheryl Sandberg, Carla Harris, Abby Wambach, CTO of the USA Megan Smith, US Treasurer Rosie Rios, GloZell, Caitlyn Jenner, Joanna Barsh, Joanna Hoffman, Shelley Zallis….the list goes on. These women shared their struggles and learnings with the hope and understanding that we can all learn from one another and that, as a community, we stand stronger and are more apt to achieve change than as individuals:
America Ferrera – Hollywood celebrity and one super evolved and wise young woman!
“When I stopped thinking of other women as competition to me and started thinking about them as my partners in life…my whole experience of life changed.”
Abby Wambach – Soccer Phenom/#GOAT. Her next mission is to fight for a more equitable world…Watch out!
“It cost ZERO dollars to treat someone equally”
Also, kudos to Mattel for making an Abby Wambach doll. Let’s all buy 10 when they hit the market;)
Rosie Rios – US Treasurer responsible for getting a woman on our currency.
“This is not about one woman, it’s about the hundreds and hundreds of women that should be recognized everyday as part of our history ”
Carla Harris – Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Morgan Stanley. Holy moly this woman is the definition of the word POWERHOUSE! She is chockfull of #carlaspearls.
“Perception is the copilot of reality”
“You can train people to think about you the way you want them to think about you. Think about how you want people to describe you when you are not in the room. Pick three adjectives – and make sure they are in line with what is important to your organization. Then display consistent behavior towards those three adjectives”
“This is not a women’s issue, it is a social and economic issue.”
There were countless more amazing moments, conversations and workshops. And the great folks at MAKERS taped them all. Go watch them here and get inspired, as we are in the midst of true change to make the world a better place for women and girls (and everyone).
I’ll wrap up this post by quoting my new favorite badass, Carla Harris,
“Ladies, make 2016 the year of no regrets, put your foot on the gas and let it rip!