I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to say or do for International Women’s Day. I didn’t strike because, well, IMBY just wouldn’t run for the day.
I do, however, want to take some time to reflect on the powerful women in my life. I must admit I never really thought much about my limitations as a woman because when I was a very little kid, my mom quit her corporate job and launched her own successful company. Growing up around a strong woman allowed me to see the world as limitless. I never doubted my place at the table for my gender. This carried me through my teenage years, college, and beyond.
It took me a while, until my mid-20s really, to really understand the limitations women see in our society and around the world. I knew they were out there, but they never seemed to play a role in my life (or perhaps I am just too stubborn to have noticed them). As I progressed in my career, I was ever more vigilant. There were times I asked for a raise and was told I was “too ambitious,” something I assume would not have been said to my male counterpart (who, in fact, was making that salary for the same role). I volunteered at a gathering for Fortune 500 CEOs interested in social responsibility, appalled by the meager representation of women. And being an entrepreneur and business woman, there is also a sensitivity as a woman– being firm with vendors without coming off as “bitchy,” the daunting task of fundraising which is notoriously a struggle for women, and more.
So what can we do? I can’t say I am at the forefront of this fight, but I am awfully inspired by and trying to learn from those around me who are– my fellow business owners and entrepreneurs, friends, and IMBY community members. We can all take steps, large and small, towards fighting for what’s right. We need to be asking for raises when we deserve them. We need to stop viewing the glass ceiling as unshatterable (um, remember when a majority of individuals in this country voted for a female president last November?!). We need to celebrate the women who inspire us. And while we need to be surrounding ourselves with powerful women who lift us up, we also have to bring men who see us equally into the fold as well.
I am so proud today and every day to be a women-owned business, and I am honored to have such wonderful, powerful, strong, and inspirational women in our community. You all inspire me to do what I do.
Please reach out and let me know how you are celebrating today and how IMBY can better support you as a woman during these challenging times. I am all ears.