“One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go.” — Sheila Murray Bethel
Some of the best people I know are also the strongest, smartest, and most powerful women I know. We make up more than half of the population of the world and many have paved the way for us to stand where we do today, and we all should be so proud to be women. While things have improved greatly from the days of Cady B. Stanton, women, at times, still have a harder time obtaining high profile jobs or making equal salary to men.
In this country, women have made substantial improvements in the last 100 years; however, women everywhere still face discrimination every day, and the fight for equality is not over. Yes, the laws that restricted women’s rights are gone, but the lingering ideals surrounding those laws have not been eradicated, not only in our 50 states, but around the globe. I am proud to be a woman in the United States where I get to enjoy many more freedoms than my female counterparts in other parts of the world.
However, we should still look at every opportunity given as a chance to continue to pave the way for women of future generations. According to Think Progress, women only make up 48 of the chief executives of the country’s 1,000 largest companies, only 4.8%. Along with this, women make up less than 15% of executive officer positons at Fortune 500 companies. While this may not feel uplifting, I am excited by this challenge as I see young women continue to rise to leadership, fighting previous standards, and creating long-lasting change in a variety of industries.
There are many conferences around the country every year which discuss this issue and brainstorm ways to change the conversation so women can be given more opportunities and show their equality. These conferences are a wonderful way to get involved, and I strongly encourage more women to attend these types of events.
The Most Powerful Women Summit is an excellent example of gathering courageous women to discuss women’s inequality in this country. This event hopes to highlight strong women in top businesses to get them to discuss their leadership and ways of handling their career. Some already confirmed guests include: CEO of General Motors Mary Barra, CEO of IBM Ginny Rometty, Washington DC Major Muriel Bowser, News Anchor Katie Couric, Fox News Anchor Megan Kelly, CEO of Duke Energy Kynn Good, Director of UN World Food Program Ertharin Cousin, and CEO of Gates Foundation Susan Desmond-Hellman. You can watch sessions for the 2015 MPW summit on YouTube.
Listening to and taking part in these types of comprehensive discussions on women’s rights and challenges will help us better understand how to grab every future opportunity with a reinvigorated spirit and gusto to make real change not only in our own lives, but in the lives of generations to come.