Protest matters. From the suffragettes to today, the only way women have ever gotten anything is by fighting for it. The recent Women’s March proved women’s equality is not just a demand of the liberal coasts, but of the whole country (Cecile Richards). In Poland, women prevented anti-abortion laws by taking to the streets in huge numbers (Joanna Barsh).
Make democracy a verb, something you do each day. And don’t just battle - build the institutions, schools, and communities you want to see (USOW panel).
Find inspiration in the individual, everyday heroines that acted as courageous plaintiffs, moving the civil rights struggle forward (Sherrilyn Ifill).
Put your money where your mouth is. Donate your dollars and your time to organizations that matter to you.
Equal Rights Amendment
Fight to pass the ERA. Correct the fact that women do not have constitutionally guaranteed equality in the United States of America and countless discriminatory laws still threaten women. If we make countries like Afghanistan put it in their constitutions, we should put it in ours (Patricia Arquette).
If you do one single thing, separate the evaluation results for men and women and promote the top x% from each pool, don’t merge the pools. Research from the Clayman Institute found widespread gender bias in evaluations (Joanna Barsh).
Make bold public pledges and work together. The 30% club has already moved from 22% to 29% women in leadership in less than three years. Follow the lead of the boldest companies and make the 50/50 by 2020 pledge (Joanna Barsh and example here from AOL CEO Tim Armstrong).
Demand that companies measure and report internal data on gender equity. Transparency catalyzes change. Tech companies who reported their data are improving their numbers (Joanna Barsh). The Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equity Index (BFGEI) is also triggering this type of virtuous cycle by allowing investors and consumers to reward the best performing companies on this measure (Angela Sun).
Copy the best practices of companies leading the way. Look at what Procter & Gamble is doing (e.g. recruiting practices, talent councils, crucible roles, promotion vetting, manager training, Catalyst MARC program) or what Ikea is doing (e.g. parent-friendly meeting times, shared manager positions, integrating unconscious bias into assessments, making the top 200 positions 50/50, equalizing pay even for hourly workers, day care facilities, extended parental leave) (Joanna Barsh).
Institute training to counter bias. If you don’t have your own training toolkit, use the public toolkits of companies (Sheryl Sandberg and Lori Goler).
Speak frequently and frankly about racial diversity, sexism, and ask smart questions to reveal unconscious bias like Slack does (Erica Baker).
Know the business case for paid family leave. Here is new research from the Boston Consulting Group (Trish Stroman).
Watch and share this important (and funny) PSA about paid leave (Family Leave PSA). Both presidential candidates spoke about family leave. It can be a bipartisan issue. The time is ripe to leverage this issue with your lawmakers and your companies (Vicki Shabo).
Take every opportunity to change mindsets. Tell the woman next to you that she can make it. Tell women in your corporation that they can advance, and not necessarily the way you did (Joanna Barsh).
Empathize and investigate. Combat “alternative facts” and attacks on the free press with deep, investigative reporting on those in power and empathetic, inclusive coverage on those adversely affected by power. Journalism that’s not elitist, but speaks to the experiences of everyone in the country, including those that feel left out by globalization and condescended to by the elites (Lydia Polgreen).
All men can support women’s rights, not just the fathers of daughters. Don’t wait until you become a father to start speaking out (from the world premiere of John Legend’s MAKERS Men video).
Show men that having supportive, engaged fathers has significant impact on their daughters’ outcomes in life (Kristina Duncan, Dads Who Play with Barbie).
Do it locally. Cities like Los Angeles with historic gender equity in local government can lead the way (from First Lady of Los Angeles, Amy Elaine Wakeland).
Run for office! Ask yourself, “if not me, who? If not now, when?” You won’t be alone. Since the election, 4,000 women are running for office (Wendy Carillo). Groups like Emerge, She Should Run, and Emily’s List can train and support you.
Join together and bring other women along, like Octavia Spencer’s character, Dorothy Vaughn in “Hidden Figures,” who refused to take the promotion unless her entire team was hired. We are most powerful when we advance together. We have the opportunity in 2017 to finally forge a sisterhood that is inclusive, to not repeat the painful, one-dimensional (ahem, white) model of feminism in the past (Ella Bell). We can only win if we all buy into the goal and bring our unique strengths to the table (Tamika Catchings).
Practice strength. Use Diane Von Furstenberg’s personal mottos to reinforce your confidence and remind yourself of women’s innate strength.
Optimize your life and impact. Know and play to your specialty, get uncomfortable, bring out the best in others (Sarah Robb O’Hagan).
Consider whether makeup and beauty is an empowering, pleasurable structure for you, or diminishing - a way to present yourself to be looked at by men before your ideas can be heard. Opt out of the beauty routine if you want to and have the option. Re-inhabit your body as the privileged subject who looks and does (Jill Soloway).
Representation in Media
Find and tell the untold stories of women and people of color. Fill in the history books. And get behind-the-camera. When women control what stories are told, the protagonists will change (Octavia Spencer, Eva Longoria).
"Put Her on the Map." Women are only 8% of the figures honored by street names, monuments, and landmarks. Push cities, towns, and corporations (which privately own their streets, buildings, campuses) to change that (sign-up to join the movement and share this video, presented by BBDO CEO Andrew Robertson). A female Mount Rushmore? (Jimmy Lopez).
"Play the whole orchestra." Tech and data-driven solutions will be a key part to solving almost any problem, so women must be comfortable and fluent in technology. We can get there through hands-on DIY learning, school chief science officers, code boot camps, and more (Megan Smith). Examples of this principle in action are harnessing data-science to tackle criminal justice reform and discriminatory policing (Denise Ross and Kelly Jin).
Give girls analog tools not just digital tools. Empower girls and women in nontraditional fields like auto mechanics (Patrice Banks) and high-paying union trades (Judaline Cassidy) where they have represented less than 3% of the workforce since the 1970s.
Build human networks with face-to-face gatherings and internet scale to bypass the straight, white, CIS male power networks. Build validation, visibility, and economic opportunity for women and marginalized groups (Leanne Pittsford).
Violence Against Women
Be prepared to protect the gains of the past decade. Notice the backlash forming to the progress made in combating sexual assault on campuses. Hold schools accountable. Look out for the most vulnerable populations (Salamishah Tillet).
Share your own reproductive health stories to combat the stigma and shame around reproductive healthcare, normalize it as a part of every woman’s life (Cecile Richards).