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Whose responsibility is it to lift up women? To get us to representational equality, pay, and opportunity equity?

All of ours.

(Stepping away from leadership and team posts for a moment of soapboxing here.)

Last week I got into a back-and-forth argument with someone who was irritated that a shop was going to feature products from “women-owned businesses.”

He felt it was discriminatory. That if someone said they were opening a shop that featured products from “male-owned businesses,” they would have hellfire rain down on them. He’s not wrong in that regard.

I tried to educate about WHY the support for women-owned businesses matters. I explained that this did not take opportunity away from men given the number of other shops available.

That in every measure (business ownership, executive positions, board positions, VC/PE funding, and on and on) women are under-represented proportionally. That pay and opportunity equity continues to be real issues.

And finally, I said “Women have to lift other women up to get us to equity and equality. It’s obvious we can’t count on men to do it, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation as we would have made far more progress than we have.”

Men–yes, we need your support.
You proportionally have more power than women.
We need you as our allies, we need your advocacy to get us to equity and equality in all measures.

And women–we need YOUR support too. We absolutely must lift one another up.
Provide each other with opportunities.
Never, ever tear one another down or subvert another’s success.

To my knowledge, I’ve never been the recipient of “pull her down” syndrome by other women. Maybe it’s happened behind closed doors and I didn’t know it.

But I know it’s happened to other women.

Recent events have made it clear it can happen at the highest levels of society. What message does that send?

Take Nikki Haley. Women on BOTH sides of the aisle have been tearing her down for reasons having nothing to do with her political positions or qualifications. No, they’ve been tearing her down for attributes of her WOMANNESS. This has happened with every female presidential candidate by other women.

Forget Don Lemmon. Let’s have a WTAF moment with the women participating in this behavior. Not acceptable.

So it’s up to all of us. As we celebrate #internationalwomensday, regardless of your gender, ask yourself these questions:

  • What am I doing to lift women up?
  • What am I doing to help us work toward equity and equality?
  • What am I doing that is getting in the way?

It would be awesome to get to a point in time where the very idea of an International Women’s Day feels unnecessary. But we aren’t there yet, and won’t be for a long time.

To get there requires ALL OF US. Let’s talk!

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