Make Your Own History for Women’s History Month in March 2021

March is Women’s History Month, and while it’s designed to honor past accomplishments of women, there is no reason why you can’t make your own history.  Here are several ideas:

  1. Select women for speaking, writing, mentoring, and leadership positions.

Make your own history by adding more women speakers to your stages. It makes the event that much more interesting and will probably increase your event attendance. Also seek out more women authors to publish, just like CPA Trendlines is doing by posting this article.

A study by The Bizzabo Blog called “Gender Diversity & Inclusion in Events Report” reports that only one-third of speakers across more than 60,000 events over a five-year period from 2013 to 2018 were women. (Source: https://blog.bizzabo.com/event-gender-diversity-study )

To make women mentors more visible, read and share the story about a woman head of state or a woman who has won a Nobel Prize. Have each person in your office take a day to showcase a woman in their life on your blog or social media accounts.

  1. Correct the pay inequity between women and men by going through your payroll ledgers in your company—Now! Right now!

In my first job at a large company, a man was hired at the same time I was for the exact same position at $3,000 more per year. He ended up getting fired after three months while I was promoted in three months, so I got the last laugh. However, if he hadn’t, and we both had gotten the same promotions over the next ten years, the difference in our salaries would have grown every year and I would have never caught up with him.

That’s why we have to fix this all at once, and not incrementally.

In 1991, my boss and I literally did this at a Fortune 1000 company for our department. It was shocking what we found: women earning $30,000-$40,000 less than men in the same position. And we fixed it! Some women got $40,000 raises that year. That’s what you have to do. It’s what should have been done a long time ago.

  1. Allow women to contribute first during meetings and in classrooms—and DON’T interrupt them.

A study from George Washington University showed that men interrupt women 33 percent more often than they interrupt other men. (Source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275005639_Influence_of_Communication_Partner’s_Gender_on_Language )

Guy Kawasaki, a successful tech mogul who has since retired, makes it a point to call on women first in all of his business interactions. It’s time—past time—and it’s a great extension of being a gentleman.

  1. Redesign the world to include women.

It’s well known that much of the world was designed with the larger male body in mind. This includes myriad things: from kitchen counters that are unreachable without a stool (I’m 5’4” and shrinking!), to seat belts and air bags adjusted for male-sized test crash dummies which endanger women, to pharmaceutical and medical products based on studies by scientists who used male test subjects to avoid women’s monthly cycles.

If you’d like to become more aware of this to better understand how your daughters, wives, moms, co-workers, and subordinates fit into today’s world, read Caroline Criado Perez’s Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men.

  1. Punish bad behavior towards women when you see it.

Make it a safe place for everyone in your organization to call out bad behavior (especially when the bad behavior is directed toward a woman) right when it happens. You can give people a catch phrase to say, such as, “What you just said or did disempowered me.” This will help to make others aware of their behavior so they can change it.

Training will help unaware employees understand what’s acceptable and what isn’t. This training should go beyond the more common sexual harassment training.

Include women’s empowerment in performance criteria during an employee’s performance review. In other words, encourage employees to provide ample opportunities for women to lead meetings, run projects, contribute ideas, and give feedback.

Finally, for people who just won’t change but that are still valuable to the firm or not easily kicked out, limit the scope of their influence so they don’t adversely affect the safe, friendly, professional, and fair culture you are trying to build.

  1. Partner with or support women.

Choose women-owned-businesses for clients, suppliers, joint ventures, and partnerships. Donate or volunteer for an organization that supports women and girls.

Share a movie or TV show produced by women with your office/network.

Ask your wife, daughter, mother, or sister how you can help them reach their life goals.

Making History of Your Own

Make some history of your own not only throughout the month of March but all year long.