This past Saturday was International Women’s Day. Google celebrated with a powerful doodle (and YouTube clip featuring Malala). According to the IWD organization, the theme this year is “Inspiring Change,” and the premise is that women have made great strides in many areas, but remain unequal. There are so many political, economic and social hurdles around the world that women face, and International Women’s Day does a fantastic job of commemorating and combating these struggles.
I feel lucky as a woman that I have equality it many facets of my life. I don’t take these liberties for granted (and this applies to all of my freedoms, having been lucky enough to be born in the United States). But those who know me well know that I also take to heart the importance of women’s equality, especially in the workplace, and this year’s International Women’s Day theme has particular importance in 2014.
The industry broadly defined as “tech” is revolutionizing every aspect of the world: the way we communicate, the way we pay for items, the way we transport ourselves from point A to point B. It’s practically the job of the “tech” industry to inspire change, or people to challenge and change the way we approach problem-solving.
As a result, I also believe it’s the job of this industry to inspire change to solve this particular problem of inequality. I feel lucky to have surrounded myself with such positive female role models in and around Silicon Valley, and also in the world of Finance. But it’s amazing to me that with all of these powerful and influential women, inequality is still an issue.
I’m not going to propose a solution to the problem: it’s going to take time and effort from every walk of life and institution to get this issue straightened out. But it’s effort that must be taken.
Men: it’s your turn to champion these efforts alongside women. The women’s lib movement was pioneered by women who stood up and fought for a great cause, but it’s not only women who should be fighting for this equality. Without everyone on board, real change cannot occur.
Women: it’s time to defy the stereotypes – there’s no right answer here. Take risks, raise your hand, and speak up when you see inequality. That’s a great start to actually make change.