This is International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate the significance of women, in their own communities and all the way to the international stage. This year’s theme is #ChoosetoChallenge.
The request is this, “A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let’s all choose to challenge.” We, humanity, both men and women are being called to choose to challenge whenever bias affects the economic, racial, gender, or other aspects of well-being for women. Where women thrive, families thrive. Where families thrive, we all thrive.
Recently I was in the company of a group of women business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders, many of whom had experienced significant career achievements. Sadly, for many of these women, their advancement had been hard won at great personal cost. Some, in career positions, called out the continued inequity of pay and advancement opportunities in the corporate world, even in consulting contracts, that continue to this day.
It was clear that many of these women, although they expressed satisfaction, even pride, in what they HAD achieved, have not yet consistently experienced peace with money.
The blessing is that things ARE changing. Many more opportunities for women exist today than did at the beginning of my career in the late 1960s. However, they haven’t changed nearly quickly enough.
When I broke through a glass ceiling in 1977 to become the first female real property tax appraiser in the State of California, paid equally with my male counterparts, Women’s Lib was in full flower. Women were burning bras, demonstrating, and refusing to allow men to open doors for us. I thought I’d made one more significant stride for women’s equity.
Yet more than 50 years on from the Women’s Strike Day march on Washington in August of 1970, the cause has not been met. The demands then were for equal employment and educational opportunities, as well as for childcare assistance for working parents. Today, still, many more families headed by women live in poverty than do those headed by men. Equal pay could help to remedy that, as could a revision upward of the national minimum wage, which would help those households led both by women and men.
Peace with money includes the sense that what you are paid for your work is equitable. That you can earn enough to meet minimum expenses and have something left to fulfill dreams and goals. Or, perhaps, just for doing things that give pleasure. Peace comes when we feel our contributions are appreciated, acknowledged, and compensated fairly.
This is a call to you, my friends, and readers. When you see inequities, for women or in any other circumstances, look to see what action you might take that could make a positive difference. Then #ChoosetoChallenge. The more of us that make the effort to challenge, the more effective and lasting will be the change.