Equality, it's the topic of the week, the month, the year, the decade, and the century. Women are vocal and present. We are standing up, stepping out, making noise and taking up space! Showing up to protest and lobby, not just for Equal Pay but Equal Opportunities. The "Female Tax" will one day be a thing of the past... or will it? Can you fix something you don't know about? 43% of men say that obstacles to advancement for black women no longer exist. Forty three percent don't know that Black women make 38% less than their white male peers! Outrageous? Actually, how can we blame them. The America of 2020 is at a crossroads. Inequality still exists in our everyday lives, but instead of addressing the racial and gender elephants in the room, we tip-toe around it, throw it some peanuts, and pray it doesn't start a commotion.
How can we begin to address a problem if no one is willing to admit that it exists? Those who say "I don't see gender" and "I don't see race" are really saying "I don't want to see the problems that exist, because I don't want to do the work involved in fixing them. I'd rather stay in my privilege bubble." Here lies the issue with privilege, those that have it don't see it, and those that don't can't help but focus on its presence when it's around.
If we are being honest, traditionally conversations discussing women's rights and equality have benefited one group above all others, white women. So how do we make the conversation more inclusive? How do women of color close the even wider pay gap that exists for them? The answer is solidarity! "United we stand Divided we fall!" Just this week I witnessed a major fall, the attack and attempted sabotage of a black female entrepreneur. The Honey Pot Company was founded in 2014 by Bea Dixon whose goal was to develop a natural feminine care product line. In a recent Target advertising campaign, she stated: "The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well, is so the next black girl that comes up with a great idea, she could have a better opportunity. That means a lot to me.” This is huge! Here is a successful entrepreneur creating an avenue for mentor-ship, and sponsorship. Black women represent the fastest- growing group of entrepreneurs yet they lack access to investors and their capital and therefore earn less revenue. Her inspiring statement was misconstrued and twisted into "being racist against whites" according to several women who gave false reviews of her products. Did her sales suffer? No. In fact, they were 40-50% higher than predicted. I visited the website and most of their popular products are sold out. Why? Solidarity. The power of women standing together to support each other. This is the first step in correcting the inequality and dis-equity that plagues us today.
If you are a member of society who has directly or indirectly experienced systematic oppression, and has been characteristically overlooked and disenfranchised, when you achieve a goal of this magnitude, trailblazing an avenue for little girls that look like you, and look up to you, is not racist it's common sense!
If we don't want race to be a factor in future conversations, we are going to have to acknowledge that it is a factor in the current conversation. We will have to address it in order for the culture to move to a place where it is no longer something we use to separate and divide.
International Women's Day is March 8th and I am hoping that women of all races, creeds, and backgrounds will stand together, in solidarity! That those who are moving forward will look back and extend a helping hand to those that are struggling. Solidarity will strengthen our resolve, and help us to achieve the common goal of an equal playing field. Isn't that what this movement of equality is all about?