By Cathrin Stickney, Founder and CEO, Parity.org
It’s hard to believe my last public outing was a full year ago. Last March, I celebrated International Women’s Day by ringing the Nasdaq opening bell on behalf of Parity.org. As you can see from the picture, we hadn’t even heard about social distancing yet! Just one week later, many parts of the United States went into lockdown due to COVID-19.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme of #ChoosetoChallenge feels all the more prescient when we consider all that has occurred in the last 12 months. In one outstanding example from the last year, people rightly challenged the status quo of systemic racism in this country, demanding that we do better. Parity.org created the ParityPledge in Support of People of Color in response.
While we still have much work to do for racial justice, we can’t drop the ball for gender equality. Equality for women means equality for all women–BIPOC, Asian, Latina, trans, disabled, all women. Women of color are more likely to hold, and therefore lose, jobs that have been impacted by the pandemic; women are more likely to be frontline workers like nurses, doctors, and healthcare aids; women are bearing the additional work of educating their children at home and caring for family members who get sick.
This year, we saw that a movement to challenge injustice and inequality can work. It won’t happen overnight, but it can make a lasting difference. That’s why I invite you to join us and choose to challenge gender inequality and sexism where you experience it. I also invite every company and individual to take the ParityPledge: for companies to interview at least one qualified woman for open leadership roles, VP and above, in an effort to close the gender gap where it is widest; for individuals to speak up, support, and celebrate women in their workplaces and lives.
I also hope you’ll share your support of the ParityPledge on social media–take a selfie and let your supporters know “I took the #ParityPledge!” When we all join together, we can create a movement for positive change.