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Women's March 2018: Why I Marched Again

Women's March 2018: Why I Marched Again

First things first: the Women’s March 2.0.

I live on the route. By 10:30am on Saturday morning, there were some number of women milling around, and I thought, “Ok, good turnout.” By 11:30am, the streets were packed. Absolutely packed. Shoulder to shoulder. And it was notable how many men joined in.

One of our favorite quotes at the time of the election was from actor Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright on Twitter):

“May the election of Trump bring forth the fiercest, smartest, toughest generation of a**-kicking women this country could possibly imagine.”

When we think back on the year past — the women running for office, the women bravely naming their harassers, the women supporting these women, women and our allies turning out in huge numbers to march a year later — it’s clear that this is happening.

Hell yeah.

The second thing: there remain some odd points of view out there about why the gender money gaps persist…even from women.

I was on TV this past week talking about findings from the Ellevest 2018 Money Census, and the (female) anchor told me — with energy — that one of the reasons why women earn less than men is that they choose to go into HR and other support functions after they have babies. And those jobs just naturally pay less.

Huh? Really?? I’ve been in business for more years than I care to share, and I’ve never seen even a hint of this. And I looked for research backing this up and found…nothing.

I told her that I believe, instead, that our institutions fail new mothers.

We are one of only two countries in the world that doesn’t have mandated family leave, and just 30% of US companies provide paid maternity leave (which drops to 6% for the bottom quartile of workers). This is despite the fact that 82% of Americans think Congress should consider a paid leave policy; that it is a compassionate thing to do; and that — newsflash! — research indicates that it pays for itself in the first year (as women are more likely to return to work if they can have some time with their new child, saving companies the cost of replacing them and training their replacements).

Head-shaker.

And so I march…not for myself, but for women who haven’t had all of the opportunities that I have had. And for all the work we have still to do.

The anchor finished the interview by saying she would be staying home from the Women’s March. No big surprise there.

This piece was originally featured in the Ellevest newsletter, What The Elle.


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