As CEO of YWCA Bergen County, every day for me is about women and girls…how to support them, protect them, inspire them, and—yes—empower them. So, on International Women’s Day, I am especially heartened that the rest of world is taking note of the importance of women and the urgent need to move forward with gender parity issues.
It is discouraging that one of the marquee and most measurable issues to tackle is still equal pay for women. A report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research projects the wage gap in the Garden State won’t close for another 40 years.
The report tells us, “Women who work full-time, year-round still earn only 78 cents on the dollar compared with men, and during the last decade little improvement has been made in closing the gender wage gap…”
Clearly, we still have a very long way to go.
For me, as the leader of an organization dedicated to empowering women and as the mother of three-year old twins, a boy and a girl, gender equality is a consideration throughout my days and nights.
Everyday I think about the opportunities my daughter and all our daughters will look forward to and how—worldwide—women need access to healthcare and rights to make decisions for their bodies. I think about the importance of growing our girls to be leaders empowered to make those decisions.
But, of equal importance are the men in our world and how they support women. I do my part every day, consciously raising my son to be a feminist who can support women’s issues.
This year we at YWCA Bergen County are celebrating our 95th Anniversary with a gala entitled: “95 Years of Walking the Talk.” It will take place on May 9th at Seasons in Washington Township. I felt it was especially important to include men in this important moment in our evolution as an organization. So, a central part of our program will feature five extraordinary men, men who consistently—either in their careers or their volunteer efforts—to stand up for issues that impact women.
I firmly believe the only way we are going to resolve inequality issues surrounding the gender discrimination that is so deeply entrenched in our world, is if we work—consciously, consistently, tenaciously—together.
So, I urge you to take a moment today to both celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women, and to also consider what you can do to close the gap.
International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Click here to #PledgeForParity.