As the Founder and CEO of 10x People, I'm deeply aware of the importance of Women’s History Month.
President Jimmy Carter first established Women’s History Month in February 1980. He declared the week of March 8th National Women’s History Week to “acknowledge the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.” This week quickly became a month's celebration when Congress passed Public Law 97-28, officially declaring March as Women's History Month in 1987. Today, we recognize this whole month as an opportunity for all people—not just women—to recognize and appreciate women's impact on our world throughout history.
From the beginning of my career, I have had many great women mentor and help me advance. These mentors struggled to advance in telecommunications when they started in the 1960s and 1970s. I will never forget one of my mentors telling me that when she was newly promoted to management, she was told by her new peers that by taking a man’s job, she was “taking food out of people's mouths.” Another mentor continually received cat calls working as a telecom “frame dame” when she bent over to adjust jumpers on the mainframe. Through perseverance and hard work, these women ultimately became senior executives at large telecommunications companies. They taught me the same perseverance and reliance on my skills to rise in my career, supporting me along my journey.
When I started my first business, I had just had my son a month earlier. In 1996, it was not common for women in technology with infants to have the flexible work schedules with remote work opportunities we appreciate today. Back then, we had two options: You either had to work in the office part-time for 20 hours or full-time for 40 hours during a 9 to 5 work day. So what did I do after starting my business? I hired three other women with infants to work with me. These women and the men ultimately hired to work with us were highly productive when they could work and had the flexibility to leave it behind to care for their families. My first company had thirteen new babies in the first three years. We were highly profitable and had excellent job satisfaction. Some of these women still work with me today. I have always had a policy of family first! For women with families to be successful in the workforce, flexibility is key.
As a female business leader, I’m passionate about using my platform to empower other women. This means celebrating those who have come before us while also recognizing those making history right now. At 10x People, we actively seek opportunities to support and encourage young women considering STEM careers, women returning to the workforce, and female entrepreneurs by providing mentorship opportunities and promoting their businesses whenever possible. We also prioritize hiring practices that are focused on equal representation across gender lines, both within our team itself and among our partners.
We believe it is essential for all leaders to recognize these accomplishments and show support for other female leaders working towards creating positive change in their communities. By supporting each other through recognition and initiatives such as these, we can ensure that more young girls feel inspired by the stories of powerful women throughout history—and realize their own potential for greatness too!
Women’s History Month is an important time for all of us to take stock of how far we have come regarding gender equality since its inception over 40 years ago. It also serves as a reminder of what has been achieved so far while also reminding us there is still so much work left undone before true gender parity can be realized worldwide.