NOT DONE: Taking Action for Women’s Equality
Adobe Stock image.
by Rosemary Arriada-Keiper
posted on 03-16-2020
I recently had the opportunity to attend the 2020 MAKERS Conference, a global leadership event that convenes powerful names in business, entertainment, tech, and finance to explore ways to advance equality. This year’s theme was NOT DONE, a phrase inspired by the suffragettes and the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920. It honors all that has been tackled in the last 100 years and serves as a rallying cry to keep moving forward.
As the theme was introduced, I recall thinking to myself, “Yeah, we still have some work ahead of us.” But it wasn’t until I personally experienced the engaging activities at MAKERS that it really struck me how much MORE work I have to do to contribute to this greater movement. This included listening to the enlightening discussion around the upcoming U.S. presidential election, watching the Gloria Steinem autobiographical film screening, and hearing the inspiring individual stories about the strength and courage to find one’s voice. I was inspired, to say the least.
As a first generation American whose parents immigrated to this country with very little education, minimal financial means, and no knowledge of culture or language, I have always had a tremendous amount of gratitude for this country and the people that helped my parents realize their opportunity. My parents always spoke of the acceptance, kindness, and support they received as immigrants. But over the last several years, I have been saddened to observe a shift in attitude and behavior away from these qualities. The MAKERS discussion on the upcoming election year reinforced how critical it will be for me and others to take action by amplifying these qualities and ensuring our voices are heard through voting.
“The Glorias” film screening was a strong reminder of how much effort, time, and sacrifice were made by the women and men before me. And while I intuitively knew that I had better experiences than those before me (thanks to my mother who would frequently shared how envious she was that my sister and I were financially independent), I also understood that it still is not fair or equal for many. The film demonstrated to me just how much I take that for granted and how I must continue to find ways to drive change.
The inspiring and compelling stories of individuals who are making change in their own way, are what ultimately brought it home for me. To hear these individuals find ways through their work and personal journeys to create meaningful change, made me realize that we can all contribute. Bernice Dapaah’s (founder and CEO of Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative) story of creating bikes made of bamboo was an example of a small idea with massive impact. Her mission has led to the mass employment of women in the villages of Ghana, enriched local communities by providing free bikes so kids could get to school more easily (instead of walking for miles), and introduced an alternative product that is more sustainable for our earth.
I am so fortunate to work in an environment and have a role that allows me to contribute and make an impact on topics that are important to me, including gender equality. The work that my team and I do at Adobe has allowed me to impact such things as parental and family leave, gender pay parity, and, more recently, opportunity parity. The most rewarding aspect of my job is when I hear from our employees about the impact we have made on their ability to care for themselves and their families, which ultimately allows them to be their best for Adobe. I believe the progress we are making in the private sector to improve workplace experiences demonstrates what is possible. If we collectively join in these efforts and keep moving forward, we can have an impact on driving change at the broader social or public level.
In March we are celebrating Women’s History Month, and aligned with the MAKERS Conference, this year’s theme honors the women who fought to win suffrage rights and for those who continue to fight for the rights of others. I am inspired by the suffragettes, and all the equality champions before me, for their dedication to fight for change. And while progress has been made, we are certainly not done. Continued progress begins with each us, and collectively we’ll create a more equal environment for all.
Topics: Community, Diversity & Inclusion, Women Create, Celebrating Women