“Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business”
Evolver’s celebration of National Women’s History Month would not be complete without first recognizing the women of Evolver. Please join me in honoring our history-making women who every day blaze trails for themselves, Evolver, and for future female employees. Thank you Evolver women!
We are happy to announce that as part of our celebration of Women’s History month this year, five Evolver employees will receive a copy of the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, by Margot Lee Shetterly, and two movie tickets each to see the highly acclaimed movie adaptation. Winners will be announced on Wednesday, March 15th. With the author’s permission, select submissions will be posted on MyEvolver.
Each of us can become inspired by the achievements and contributions that women have made in our lives, personally and professionally. Successful women from all walks of life are inspirational for women and can be role models for both girls and and boys, showing them that what might have been considered impossible once is possible, winnable, and achievable.
Today, woman make up more than half of the U.S. workforce and are a powerful force in business. Some of the world’s largest companies are led by female CEOs. For example Lockheed Martin, Yahoo, General Motors, General Dynamics, and IBM all have women CEO’s. Still, women make up only about 5.4% of all the CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. We have only five women governors—23 states have never elected a woman governor; women hold 20% of the Senate and just under 20% in the House. While women have made great inroads, we still have a long way to go to fully capitalize on their potential.
Every year, the National Women’s History Project recognizes women who have contributed exemplary work in the advancement of women. The 2017 theme for National Women’s History Month is “Honoring Trailblazing Women in Labor and Business.” This theme honors women who have successfully challenged the role of women in both business and the paid labor force. This year’s honorees are women of diverse backgrounds and each made her mark in a different field.
Facing stark inequalities in the workplace (lower wages, poor working conditions, and limited opportunities), these women fought to make the workplace less hostile for women. The Honorees succeeded in expanding women’s participation in commerce and their power in the paid labor force. As labor and business leaders and innovators, they defied the social mores of their times by demonstrating women’s ability to create organizations and establish their own businesses. This paved the way for better working conditions and wages for themselves and other women. They proved that women could succeed in every field. While each honoree is extraordinary, each is also ordinary in her own way, demonstrating that women business and labor leaders can and should be considered the norm.
National Women’s History Project recognizes the following women:
Rebecca Anderson (1940) Community and Economic Development Organizer: Rebecca “Becky” Anderson and a team of Western North Carolinians created HandMade in America. She was founding director of the organization which established a craft-focused economy for 25 counties in North Carolina.
Barbara Hackman Franklin (1940) Former Secretary of Commerce: Franklin’s career is trailblazing for both her extensive government and private sector work and for her efforts to open the doors to other women leaders. Serving five presidents, Franklin led efforts to increase the number of women in government, normalized commercial relations between the U.S. and China, and is an expert on corporate governance.
Alexis Herman: (1947) Former Secretary of Labor: Herman began her career working for Catholic Charities helping young people find work. At the age of twenty-nine, President Carter’s appointment made her the youngest director of the Women’s Bureau in the history of the Labor Department.
Lilly Ledbetter (1939) Equal Pay Activist: In 1998 after 19 years with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Ledbetter took her call of employment discrimination all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The case was initially found in Ledbetter’s favor; however upon appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against her, saying that she needed to have filed her charge sooner. Ledbetter continued to fight for equal pay and rights for women. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act into law.
Kate Mullany (1845 – 1906) Organized First All-Female Labor Union: Mullany formed the nation’s first bona fide all-female union. In 1864 she organized over 300 of her fellow Troy, New York laundresses into the Collar Laundry Union.
Lucy Gonzalez Parsons (c. 1853 – 1942) Labor Organizer and Socialist Leader: Parsons was a labor organizer, radical socialist, and anarchist. She was a founder of the Industrial Workers of the World and was a prolific writer and speaker. At the height of her activism, Parsons was described by the Chicago Police Department as “more dangerous than a thousand rioters.”
Barbara “Dusty” Roads (1928) Flight Attendant’s Union Leader: Dusty was hired as an American Airlines stewardess in 1950. In 1953, her employer insisted on a contract clause that all stewardesses hired after Dec. 1, 1950 would be fired at age 32; the rule soon became an industry-wide standard. In 1965, Dusty entered the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agency the day it opened and filed the first anti-discrimination complaint in the United States on behalf of her colleague, Jean Montague. After a three year EEOC fight, the age regulation was finally overturned under threat of a union strike in 1968.
For a complete list of all of this year’s honorees, visit the National Women’s History Project on line at: http://www.nwhp.org/ .