It’s International Women’s Day and we would be amiss not to shine a light on this holiday on Wit & Delight, a website that’s run by women, funded by women, read by (mostly) women, and fueled by the words of the wonderfully loud, intelligent, emotional, driven women we’re so grateful to have on our team. On this day, we want to recognize some of the progress that’s been made for women in recent years and highlight a few actions we can all take in our daily lives to continue to support women. (Editor’s Note: When using the word “women” in this article, we’re referencing all women, including LBTQ women.)
Being a woman can be difficult (a massive understatement). It has often meant you’ll be scrutinized more, undervalued, and thanked less in comparison to your male counterparts. It can be easy to get bogged down by all of the advancements that haven’t been made for women. And there is still plenty of progress to be pursued, to be absolutely sure, but recognizing how far we’ve come and how far we have to go don’t need to be mutually exclusive ideas.
A few examples of progress that has been made in recent years?
In the 2018 midterm elections, a record number of women were elected to Congress—117, up from 89 in 2016—and 36 of those women were entirely new members.
As of June 2019, 33 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list were led by female CEOs for the first time ever. Yes, this number does only represent 6.6% of the total number of CEOs, but it was a big jump from the previous year’s number of 24 female CEOs.
After a now well-documented trail of decades of assaulting and raping women, Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of rape. While he was not found guilty of all charges, this still marked a move in the right direction in terms of how our society responds to sexual violence against women. (For those who want more of a background on this case and why it took so long to shine a spotlight on Harvey Weinstein’s crimes, we’d recommend The Catch and Kill Podcast with Ronan Farrow.)
Even if change is a slow process, things are changing, and we can see it all around us.
We can be optimistic and keep fighting. We can celebrate and continue making our voices heard. We can acknowledge our achievements and still work to further the rights and voices of other women. Today we’re sharing a few of the ways we can support our fellow women, today and every day.
As we dive headfirst into election season, we hope voting is top of mind for everyone. And the importance of encouraging women to run for office and voting for them when they do (and when their platforms line up with your values)—not only in federal positions but also in your state and local governments—can’t be overlooked. Having our voices represented is so crucial to making sure our rights are upheld, and electing women to office is one of the most massive ways we can continue to affect change for women on a structural level.
For those of you who are employers, you can exercise your influence by bringing women onto your teams. And once you hire those women? Pay them a fair wage, equal to their male counterparts. The gender pay gap has narrowed over time, but as of 2018, women still earned only 85% of what men earned, and there’s clearly still plenty of work to be done in this arena.
Supporting women’s rights often happens in the day-to-day of life. Have the tough conversations with your friends, family members, and colleagues. Use your voice to talk about the topics that strike a chord with you most and, in doing so, help raise awareness with people who might not initially hold the same belief structures as you. In polarizing times, these conversations can be hard to have, but they’re so crucial in bridging the gap between people with differing opinions.
Donating to the organizations that are on the ground every single day fighting for women’s rights is an incredible way to make a difference. The number of organizations that do this important work is vast. A few of the ones that stand out to us are:
This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we’d love for you to share other organizations that are doing great work for women below!
This article on Bustle explores how you can tell if your feminism is intersectional. The author, Mia Mercado, writes, “Intersectional feminism is the idea that each component of our identity—things like race, gender, LGBTQ status, ability, and so many more—does not exist in a vacuum. . . . For example, a woman experiences sexism; a black person experiences racism; a gay person experiences homophobia. However, a woman who is gay and black experiences all three. Understanding how each person experiences discrimination helps us better understand how we can combat it.”
As a heterosexual white woman writing this post, I am very aware that my experiences are not the same as those of people of different races, abilities, sexual orientations and gender identities, etc. We can (and should) all check in with ourselves regularly to make sure we’re recognizing the experiences of others in our words and actions, and continuing to educate ourselves about how we can be more inclusive.
This is something we talk about daily at Wit & Delight and we are actively working to improve upon it—your input on the topic is always, always welcome.
Time is one of our most valuable assets, and when women are taking on the majority of the workload at home (as well as the mental and physical burdens that come along with it), they’re not able to expend that energy in other important areas of their lives.
As a note to all of the partners of women, do your part and make sure the cleaning, cooking, and raising of children (for those who have them) are split 50/50. It’s 2020 folks. It’s (past) time.
When you feel down, remember we are making progress, and then get out there and keep going. There is still a long way to go toward women’s equality, but we need to stay the course and keep moving forward. Together.
Jackie is the Editorial Director at Wit & Delight. In her spare time, you can find her running along the river road, loitering in the vicinity of the nearest puppy at a local brewery, or recharging her soul in her tiny sanctuary of an apartment. You can follow her on Instagram @jackiesaffert.
BY Jackie Saffert - March 8, 2020
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.