How to celebrate Women’s History Month and promote gender equality all the time, not just in March—and examine how far we’ve come and how far we have to go.
Women’s history month is March in the United States. Since the 1980’s, this month has been dedicated to celebrating the achievements of American women. Yet, progress in political and business arenas alike signal little impact from this awareness raising initiative. Women still account for roughly 20% of Congress, 20% of board positions, and are just 6% of Fortune 500 CEO’s.
These numbers are not accelerating. Gender equality is estimated to take over 200 more years in the United States.
This is a problem. For example…
Did you know that there are more men named James leading Fortune 500 companies than there are women total?
We can do better than this.
Women’s history must exist beyond March
History books are dominated by white men leading. There are few token examples of women’s leadership or people of color leading in a meaningful way.
Did you know that when you ask boys and girls alike to draw a picture of a leader, nearly 100% of the time, they draw a man?
That’s because that is what they see. We have to see it to believe it. We have to believe it to achieve it.
So, let’s change the narrative. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.
Personally, it could be as simple as reading biographies of women leaders, teaching your children about women leaders, or choosing to watch films and documentaries that support women equally.
Ideas to celebrate Women’s History Month at work
To be a support women’s history at work, it is critical that efforts exist beyond March to support Women’s History Month. Here are some options to consider for educational events at work:
- Allyship talks: We have a talk titled “Lead Like an Ally” with simple, fresh ideas to meet you where you are at on your ally journey. Learn more here.
- Women’s leadership panels: Don’t have a budget to hire an outside speaker? Leverage the top talent you do have. Get a cross-section of diverse talent from different areas of the organization with different backgrounds. Ask them questions like “What was your career path?” “What barriers have you encountered, and how did you overcome them?” and “Who have been your allies and how have they supported you?” Open it for a Q&A.
- Lunch and learns: Get your team together and watch a video or webinar together. TED Talks from Brené Brown, Amy Cuddy, and Adam Grant are also great conversation starters.
- Book discussions: There are so many excellent women’s leadership reads out there: How Women Rise, Dare to Lead, What Works for Women at Work, Ask for It, How Remarkable Women Lead, Radical Candor, Athena Rising, Better Allies, Pivot Point, ONE, and Lead Like an Ally just to name a few. Craft a book summary and questions to drive positive change. You can download our full list of 20 book here
- Podcast discussions: Have the team listen to a podcast episode and come prepared to discuss key takeaways and action items together. My favorite gender equality and diversity podcasts are Tilted, HBR Women at Work, A Will to Change, and our very own Pivot Point.
We have more ideas
Like this content? Then, you will love my new book Lead Like an Ally. Click on the link to order your copy, watch complimentary videos, and begin your ally journey. A great place to start is by taking my free online assessment and printing my free inclusive leader checklist to kick start efforts at your organization.