The State of Women in the Environment
By: Renee Hastick-Motes, MPA
Throughout our history, women of every cultural and ethnic background have been trailblazers exemplifying strength, tenacity, and courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. Women have served as leaders in the forefront of every progressive and social movement that has touched our lives while at the same time maintaining their traditional roles as nurturers, gatekeepers and a comforting light to all humanity. These unique abilities are the essence of their being and women’s history month gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect on the contributions that women have made, salute those upon whose shoulders we stand, and re-commit ourselves to the work that still needs to be done to ensure that women participate equally in society.
This month, as we embrace our fellow sisters and encourage them to continue making their mark, we will hear countless stories about phenomenal women who have shaped our history, and have the opportunity to share the excitement about how we as women have evolved into this fierce empire. No longer are we having conversations about women voting rights but we are witnessing the power of women and seeing them in places our ancestors would have never imagined.
However, in order for us to have a sustainable trajectory for women, we have to ensure we stay the course with bold actions that will change policies and accelerate our progress. Challenges are inevitable but opportunities will arise for women to play a major role as consumers. The contributions women have made and continue to make in various sectors is evidence that change is on the horizon. President Biden’s 2023 proclamation states “when opportunities for women are withheld, we all suffer; and when women’s lives are improved, we all gain”. Guided by these words, I encourage you to take the time to learn about the lives, victories and challenges of women globally, while also telling your story and teaching your lessons learned.
The state of women today is a beautiful canvas that portrays hope. We have historically spoken our beliefs, authentically created a graceful articulation of our vision, courageously shaped our trajectory, and we will continue to shift the diversity and inclusion agenda. There are still many battles to fight, such as the right to gender pay equality. It is no secret that women make a fraction of the dollar compared to men in the workplace. closing the gender pay gap is monumental and will significantly benefit the economical ecosystem of our country. It is a fight that we must win.
As we continue to make our mark, filling spaces for our little girls, must be an on-going commitment extending beyond women’s history month. Many girls and young women growing up are struggling with issues of independence and self-esteem and are looking to us as mentors. We need to support them, guide them and inspire them but also teach them that history is made every day and they have a place in it.
Let us use Women’s history month to applaud women all over the world who have made tremendous contributions to our society and broken glass ceilings. Let us lift up those who need our help, and continue to dismantle systems that are not equitable. Where we were was necessary, where we are today is rejuvenating and where we are going has endless possibilities. Happy Women’s History Month! – tell your story, celebrate one another, forge forward, and continue advancing the rights for all women so our young girls can continue to see hope.