When I graduated high school, my parents did not throw me an open house celebration. It was explained to me like this: “Graduating high school is not an accomplishment worthy of a party. You should graduate high school. Finish college and then maybe you’ll get a party.”
I share that story not so you’ll feel sorry for me or think that my parents are horrible parents. They are amazing. I share that information because I think that mentality is what lead to my dislike of things like International Women’s Day, which was celebrated last week on March 8.
It wasn’t so much the day I disliked, it was things like when newspapers, including the one you’re reading, would publish special pages celebrating “Women in Business.” I would cringe. Why do women need special pages? Women should be in business. We’d never have special “Men in business” pages. I would roll my eyes and move on.
At the same time, however, there was a little voice in my head telling me how hypocritical this thinking was. After all, it’s not lost on me that part of my desire to be a woman in business is thanks to “Take Your Daughter To Work Day.” Way back when I attended, the focus was on showcasing a variety of careers specifically to female students. I’m lucky that my aunt took me to work on those days — at a newspaper, of course. I saw a woman in business, and it wasn’t just any woman, it was my aunt. It was so easy for me to picture doing what she did. So easy, in fact, that I do a lot of what she did in my current career.
The thinking was also hypocritical because I served as editor of a women’s magazine for four years, and I’m currently part of a team that hosts two all-women’s golf outings. I know there’s something special about women — whether they’re mentoring, reading your magazine or having fun at an event that’s just for women.
I celebrate the women in my life. The one who raised me, the ones who mentor me and the ones who surround me. I celebrate women who work 50 hours a week and make sure the dog gets to the vet, the kids get to basketball practice and their husbands have clean socks. I’m fortunate to work on branding projects with women who own or run businesses. I also get to work alongside smart, talented women at View Newspaper Group.
I champion women because they’re good for your brand. They’re loyal, they’re collaborative and they’re good for your bottom line. A worldwide study conducted by McKinsey showed that companies with more women executives are 25% more likely to generate above-average profits.
So, it’s no surprise that finally on Wednesday, as I attended my second International Women’s Day event, it clicked. I don’t dislike a day dedicated to women’s achievements, I just wish a day like International Women’s Day didn’t need to exist.
I wish it was no big deal that women are in business, but it is a big deal. While it was a given in my home that my sisters and I could have any career, I know that is not the case in every home. It’s certainly not the case in some countries where women struggle to even gain access to education, for example.
Speaking of education, I now also believe that graduating high school is a big deal too, because it’s not a given that everyone will do it. (I have long-since forgiven my parents for not throwing me an open house.)
The point of International Women’s Day is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. In case you’re wondering, no, gender parity is not a thing yet. Here’s one example. International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1911, and in 2022 women still earned an average of 82% of what men earned, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of median hourly earnings of both full- and part-time workers.
I’m happy to report that View Newspaper Group, does not simply pay lip service to the achievements of women in the workplace through our reporting and special editions. Our company employs women in five of our company’s eight top leadership positions. Our ranks are bolstered by women in every department and at every level of our company including reporters, sales professionals, graphics and production, administration and circulation. There is no question that women strengthen our brand. Just as there is no question that women who work across the communities we cover strengthen the brands of the businesses and organizations they represent through their commitment, creativity and collaboration.
I don’t know if I’ll live to see the day women globally have inherent rights and are treated with respect and dignity and don’t make less simply because they’re a woman. So, until that happens, I will proudly celebrate International Women’s Day. I will celebrate women in business, women who are stay-at-home moms and even women who say things like #bossbabe. We’re all amazing. But really, please just say boss.
Emily Caswell is the Brand Manager for VIEW Group, the branding division of View Newspaper Group.
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