The Wowza Week of Women Changing The World 4 Ways

Issue 112 — November 11, 2019

The last seven days have been nothing short of amazing. So my column this week is largely a pictorial with brief commentary on several categories of advances for women and gender equality unrolling before our eyes if we can only see and appreciate them.

Yes, I know the news is full of narratives about difficulties and disparities women face, and they are real. But it’s important to stop, breathe, and appreciate these four ways that women are changing the world in profound and systemic ways.

Let’s Start with Changing Politics and Policy

I came into the women’s movement in 1972, when the Equal Rights Amendment passed in Texas where I was at the time. I had made my first political contribution to help support its passage. If the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, as Martin Luther King said, it certainly has taken its sweet time. Women are still not written into the U.S. Constitution. But thanks to Virginia’s elections this past week, in which a majority of the victors are pledged to support the ERA, we are likely to see Virginia become the 38th and last state necessary to ratify the amendment.

There will be legal challenges and most likely a bit of drama to come before it is final, official, and once and for all. Not that it will solve all inequities, but it is a symbolic victory as well as a substantive one that will strengthen women’s rights under the law.

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Congratulations to the many women and men, such as the ERA Coalition (for which I am an advisor) and Equal Means Equal (spearheaded persistently by Kamala Lopez who recently participated in Take The Lead’s 50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment), who have been part of this effort.

Changing politics and policy: I was part of this powerful panel in which we discussed everything from the importance of civic engagement to get public policies that match our values to changing corporate policies about how parenthood is supported. I believe we should put parenthood on resumes, because what teaches you more?

Changing the Workplace

As the news that the women’s soccer team was granted class action status in their equal pay lawsuit came to light, the news of company after company pledging to or actually engaged in analyzing their own pay policies so they can close the gender pay gaps rolled in.

Changing the Workplace: Terrific panel on closing the gender pay gap, moderated by journalist @JessicaBennett and featuring @CindyRobbins who I’ve long admired for making the successful case for closing the gender pay gap to then-CEO @MarcBenioff, and soccer legend @AbbyWambach. They kicked off @TheRiveter Summit in New York.

I had just returned from the Women Advance IT conference in Lincoln Nebraska, where I was inspired by the realization that the waves of women advancing in the STEM professions is washing over every part of the country. There is such a hunger for inspiration to keep going toward parity in position, pay, and power everywhere I go.

Changing the workplace: It was exciting to keynote the sold out Women Advance IT (Women advancing the future of information technology in higher education) annual conference at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. These women are so ready for take their fair and equal share of leadership positions in their profession.

Changing Parenthood

Nothing will change the balance of power, position, and pay as much as normalizing parenthood in the workplace. Motherhood can be transformed into an asset rather than a reason not to hire, promote, or pay us equally. And fatherhood will then be normalized as well, and all to the good of parenthood becoming something we might put on our resumes. After all, what teaches you more?

And I met amazing women like Amanda Munday, owner of The Workaround who are disrupting childcare in a way that reminds me of when children were part of most families’ normal workdays in their businesses or farms.

Changing the Narrative

First, my fangirl moment with Nina Vaca, who by virtue of her vision and rapid growth of her company, The Pinnacle Group, is changing the narrative in real time about women and business.

Finally met @NinaVaca, who I’ve admired for years. As founder and CEO of the Pinnacle Group, the fastest growing woman-owned and led company in the U. S., she is changing everything!

And lastly, here are women giving credit where it’s due. OK, this didn’t happen in the past week, but it needs to be shared with you so that perhaps next week you will join us in person or online to help give women journalists their well-deserved recognition on Wikipedia.

Changing the narrative: come on down to @BeALuminary if you will be in NY on 11/16, or online if you want to participate and can’t be with us in person. This #edit-a-thon is organized by Take The Lead’s #50WomenCan Change the World in Journalism cohort. The goal is to add 100 deserving female journalists’ biographies to Wikipedia, where women have been notoriously underrepresented.

Many thanks to Luminary for partnering and providing the space for this narrative-changing project. And kudos to Angilee Shah, Emily Gertz, and other women in the 50 Women Can Change the World in Journalism cohort for “taking the lead” and turning this cohort project into reality.

Sign up here to participate.

So when you start to feel frustrated or anxious that women are going backwards, look around you and thank the women in your life, including yourself, who have made this wowza week possible. And let’s make the next week and every week after that full of steps forward to full equality and parity.

GLORIA FELDTis the Cofounder and President of Take The Lead, a motivational speaker and expert women’s leadership developer for companies that want to build gender balance, and a bestselling author of four books, most recently No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she teaches “Women, Power, and Leadership” at Arizona State University and is a frequent media commentator. Learn more at and Tweet @GloriaFeldt.

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