Yesterday was in inspirational day. I participated in Girls of Promise on campus. (UCA) I was nervous going in, (as spending an entire day with a crowd of 8th grade girls is a little intimidating) having been assigned as a team leader, Go Team Jane Goodall! I quickly got over my nerves and settled into trading stories with a group of nine amazing, talented, intelligent, composed, and funny girls from around the state of Arkansas. We had a great time exploring eSTEM topics; economics, science, technology, engineering and math. We spent the day making slime, studying water fleas with a microscope, programming a computer and learning how to pay for college.
I was surprised (okay, not really surprised) that several of the women both the speakers and break-out session instructors are, in their respective workplaces, the sole woman in the office. Granted these women were the top in their fields, many owning the company, but I thought the numbers were approaching equality. No, seriously. I thought that out in the business world the numbers of women vs men employees were approaching equality. This is the second time this month that I have been reminded of these disappointing statistics.
Recently I went to a retirement ceremony. Two long time friends retired from the police department. It was great to hear the old stories, hug friends that I haven’t seen in years. Yet something felt wrong. A little off kilter. As the ceremony progressed I noticed that it was white guys. White guys giving the speeches. White guys retiring. White guys presenting gifts. White guys telling the stories. I looked around the standing-room-only crowd and counted four white women, two black men, two black women police officers. I went to school after leaving the ceremony and realized that I now spend my time in a world with equal number of women and men. At all levels of employment. I believed that the world would be different by now. I really believed that there would be many more women working as police officers. The PD hasn’t hired a women in four years. What is up with that?
I wonder what the world of business will be like for those girls who attended the conference? Will it be easier for them? Will they have more opportunities than I did? I thought I had a great many opportunities. I did have a great many opportunities. So much more than my Mother or Grandmothers. Was I just naive in thinking that there would be equal numbers of women doing every kind of job? It’s what I expected when I was 12. It’s what I expected when I graduated high school but America wasn’t there yet. It’s what I expected when I became a police officer but America wasn’t there yet.
America isn’t there yet.