Today is the last day of March, and we want to take the opportunity to reflect on Women’s History Month.
It just so happens that the United Way of Greater Chattanooga staff is led by an all-women Senior Leadership Team. Each of these women has years of experience and the support of others behind her, so we asked them to reflect on the past Women’s History Month and what it means to each of them, what they’ve learned in their leadership journeys and the important work that lies ahead for women’s rights.
Lesley, CEO and President
“When I reflect on women’s history, I think about the women in my corner. These women are constantly championing other women, not buying the lie that we must compete with each other to be successful. We all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and the women who paved the way for us today had other strong women in their corner. In their honor, we owe the next generation the same. We must be truth-tellers, cheerleaders and resilient for one another. We must have each other’s backs, even when that means having difficult conversations. Only when we support one another can we continue to make positive progress.”
Monique, Vice President of Community and Corporate Engagement and Marketing
“We need to do everything possible to set women up for success. Mentor. Coach. Support. Advocate. Inspire. And give credit where it is due. The light we shine on other women in no way dulls our own. On the contrary, we are all lifted by one another.”
Suzy, Vice President of Finance and Operations
“As both a businessperson and a mom, my mission in life is to raise my two sons to be men who see equality not as a campaign slogan, but as their daily reality. I want to model choices that support equality, both structurally (like who they vote for) and personally (like where they spend money and how they advocate for female colleagues in the workplace). The future we all dream of is possible, and the generation of kids we are currently raising has the ability to make it reality.”
Abby, Vice President of Venture Forward
“This past year has highlighted numerous systemic challenges and highlighted the fragility of the progress we thought we’d made in several areas – and one of those areas is the participation of women in the workforce. Over 2.3 million women have left the workforce since the beginning of the pandemic. I think the most important work ahead for women’s rights is about calibrating our legal, business and social infrastructure to support women working outside the home, even through seasons of crisis. In my eyes, that means addressing the fact that women disproportionately hold low wage jobs, figuring out how to increase access to quality childcare, developing more flexible caregiver and family leave policies and changing our socialized expectations of who does what on the home front.”
Jamie, Vice President of Impact Policy and Advocacy
“Over the course of my career, I have always had strong women supporting me. They taught me the importance of using my own voice in being a leader in whatever I am trying to accomplish. These women range from my grandmother, who taught me the basics of life and survival in a rural community, to the women in all areas of my education that worked hard to help me become successful, to the mentors who helped me grow in my work career to become the person and advocate that I am today. Each one of them has been crucial in my success.”
Dominique, Vice President of Community Impact
“To me, Women’s History Month celebrates the indomitable spirit and resilience of women. This is the spirit of the women who fought and won the right to vote. It is the spirit of those who broke glass ceilings – the spirit of the women who led boldly and loudly and those who led boldly and quietly. It is this spirit that impels us to continue to advocate for and invest in policies and strategies that bridge disparity gaps and equitably support advancement opportunities for all women.”
Happy Women’s History Month!
We hope you are able to take time to pause and reflect today. Ask yourself the same questions, regardless of your gender or identity – what does Women’s History Month mean to you? Who are you supporting, and who is supporting you? Whose shoulders are you standing on?
Reach out to a friend or neighbor and have a conversation. Ask the women in your life how you can best support them in their goals. There is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together, living united.