International Women’s Day 2020: Reflecting On Its Progress

Large companies promote a vision that one day the world will reach gender equality.

The month of March is home to a pinnacle movement in the fight for gender equality around the world – International Women’s Day. According to internationalwomensday.com, the day is celebrated annually on March 8th and “is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.” It also calls out the acceleration of women’s equality.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1975, but current statistics argue women’s progress in the professional world is not as far ahead as we may have hoped.

Less than a quarter of C-level executives are women, with a mere five percent of CEOs of S&P 500 companies being female. Major companies are taking notice and action.

The second most shared article on LinkedIn at the start of 2020 was a New York Post article about Goldman Sachs announcing it will no longer do IPOs for companies with all-male boards. In other words, starting July 2020, the powerhouse investment bank won’t take a company public unless there’s at least one woman on its board. By next year, there must be at least two women on a prospective company’s board. CEO of Goldman Sachs David Solomon says the performance of IPOs in the U.S. over the last four years has been better when women are in leadership roles in those companies.

Solomon isn’t alone in that way of thinking. In a recent op/ed, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff says equalizing pay has paid off in “incalculable ways.” Salesforce has spent more than eight million dollars since 2015 researching and closing the gender pay gap within its own company, after two female senior executives came forward with their concerns about pay inequality.

Much like Solomon’s campaign at Goldman Sachs, the Salesforce story is a prime example of how men can be allies in the fight for gender equality in the workplace. A personal story of mine supports this notion -- men being vocal about supporting equality can make an impact.

In the final leg of the interview process for my current position, I met with the CEO. The conversation was candid and, at one point, shifted to workplace equality. We discussed The Channel Company’s efforts and events, such as Women of the Channel, that promote women in the male-dominated tech industry and equality. I’ll never forget how genuinely proud he was stating his approach to management, “You can’t preach what you don’t practice.”

I knew that day I would be working in an environment that would drive me and encourage my growth, while never compromising my salary based on my gender. A year later, I know I was right. That feeling of confidence is what I wish for all women in the workforce.

Perhaps one day we will no longer need an International Women’s Day, because it will have fulfilled its purpose.  

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