500 Reasons to Support International Women’s Day

As published on LinkedIn Influencers on March 8th, 2018.

Every March 8th, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, a celebration first held in 1909 in New York, but which was formally declared an annual international celebration by the United Nations in 1975 during the International Women’s Year. Today, March 8th is officially a public holiday in numerous countries around the world, including Cambodia, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Nepal, Mongolia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and there are events scheduled to mark this occasion in nearly every country across the globe. International Women’s Day is both a celebration of the accomplishments of women worldwide, and a call to action for gender equality and world peace, and I hope you all join me today in celebrating the incredible women in your life.

Every year, the United Nations picks a theme for the celebrations, and this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Time is Now. I can’t think of a better mantra coming off of the year we’ve just had. Incredible strides have been made, yes, but we still have so much farther to go. Gender inequality is not yesterday’s business, it is today’s. The Time is Now. This past year was, for me, the year that moments became movements, and movements are about people moving together towards a better future.

So what makes people move, individually and collectively? Many things, including personal experiences, values, stories of others, and yes, data. Prior to my extensive work in philanthropy, I worked in the finance industry as a trader, and I relied on numbers, statistics, and data to inform my decisions and my actions. As I transitioned out of the financial sector and into the philanthropic space, I brought this mindset with me. Though I personally did not need evidence to prove what I know to be true; that a more gender balanced and inclusive world will be a better world for all, when I truly dug into the research, I learned the depth of the need, the depth of the inequities, the depth of the opportunities, and the depth of proven interventions in need of resources. A road-map for positive change is in the research. It is not hypothetical, it is real. So not only did I search out, collect, and aggregate research and studies, but I shared them. Last year, in honour of International’s Women’s Day 2017, I published the Top 400 Reports on Women and Girls. 

The response to this publication was fantastic, and over this past year it has been an invaluable resource on more occasions than I can count. However, it quickly became clear that 400 reports, as high a number as that may seem, did not nearly encompass the scope of the research available. I continued to collect and gather research, studies, and reports, and before I knew it, that list had grown to 500 reports across 20 different categories, including Arts, Entertainment, Film & Media, Impact Investing with a Gender Lens, Philanthropy, Violence Against Women & Trafficking, Entrepreneurship, and Political Representation. There’s even a section for Masculinity and Engaging Men in Gender Equality.

I cannot promise that this list will be updated and republished every March 8th to celebrate International Women’s Day, but I’m hoping it will, so please send me any missed or new reports for inclusion in future editions to @researchonwomen and #researchonWandG on twitter, or post the link below.

Happy International Women’s Day!

Women, Work and Worth

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When more women take the lead in business, the financial picture gets brighter. Not just for the ladies at the top, but for the companies that they direct.

The research proves it: Corporations with a consistent female presence on their boards report better returns on sales, invested capital and equity than those whose board rooms lack gender diversity. Still, in the U.S. today, women hold fewer than 17 percent of the seats on corporate boards.

Women are clearly good for business. But is business good to women?

Check out this cool infographic about women and work, and see for yourself.

For instance: When it comes to gender equity, we’ve made huge strides in everything from education (women earn 60 percent of college degrees) to C-suite stature (check out Marissa Mayer’s annual compensation). But, Ms. Mayer and her cohorts aside, women are paid just 78 cents for every dollar a man makes.

Clearly, it’s not enough to quote statistics. How do women build momentum to move toward full equity? The infographic also captures upbeat advice from female CEOs and offers 10 tips to inspire women to go for the brass ring.

Take the long view with a clear snapshot of the progress, the obstacles and the path to women’s leadership.

(This was the guest post by Jason Gilbert – thank you!)

Women, Arts and Social Change

IMG_2349[1]What percentage of art currently on display in US museums was made by women? According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, it is 5%.   Even worse, less than 3% of the artists in the Modern Art section of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are women, but 83% of the nudes are female. So hmm… it is 27 times more likely that a woman is featured nude in a painting, then to have been the featured artist.  Not good.

The statistics on women in art are staggeringly poor, yet not widely publicized. Even though I am known as ‘fact girl’, these were ones I had not heard until  I had the pleasure of hearing Susan Fisher Sterling, Director of the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA), speak at an art talk in Park City this week. I also learned that this museum is the only major museum in the WORLD solely dedicated to recognizing women’s creative achievements in the arts.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts has been working to bring awareness to the lack of women represented on museum walls and in collectors portfolios since 1981, when the museum was founded by Wilhelmina Cole Holladay and Wallace F. Holladay. In addition to advocating for women in the arts, the museum has worked to collect, preserve and display over 4,500 art works created by women. The Museum, which is located in downtown Washington DC, has 5 floors and over 80,000 square feet 100% dedicated to work by women. NMWA spotlights remarkable women artists of the past, while also promoting the best women artists working today.

My dear friend, and fellow Park City local, Susan Swartz, had her first major solo exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in 2011. It was called  Seasons of the Soul  and since that time her work has become international recognized.  She is but one example of amazing women artists whose careers have been enhanced and supported but this awesome institution. Another amazing woman to have a show at the museum is Carrie Mae Weemes. She is preeminent  photographer that I just happen to have in my collection. If you have not heard of her, please check out her web-site. One thing Susan Fisher asked in her remarks were “how many famous women artists can you name?” Think about it. The answers are likely a lot fewer in number than  for male artists, and that needs to change.  Thanks to this museum, it likely well.

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In 2014  NMWA launched a bold new programmatic initiative called Women, Arts and Social Change. Through a series of public programs, the initiative will highlight the power of women and the arts as a catalyst for solutions to society’s most pressing issues, particularly those affecting women and girls. I am really excited to see where this new initiative will take the museum and how it will continue to engage new and younger audiences about the importance of women in the arts. This aligns beautifully to the work I am doing with Women Moving Millions to promote documentary film as a tool for social next. Next week I will be in New York for a full day workshop, and I will travel to Dallas for a similar event on May 7th.

I invite you to suport NMWA  and please visit their website at http://nmwa.org/

 

Photo above – Robin Marrouche, Director of the Kimball Art Center in Park City, Susan Fisher Sterling, and yours truly.