In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8 Women’s History Week, coinciding with International Women’s Day. During his message designating the week as Women’s History Week he said, “As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, “Women’s History is Women’s Right.” – It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.” In 1987, Congress declared March as Women’s History Month.
This year’s theme is Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives. 2015 marks the 35th Anniversary of the Women’s History Movement and the National Women’s History Project (http://www.nwhp.org/).
The US Census Bureau’s Fact for Features site is a great resource where one can find a collection of facts and figures on different demographic groups in the United States. Some of the facts and figures the site shared for Women’s History Month are:
In his proclamation for Women’s History Month this year, President Obama addressed many of the issues our members are working to address every day including flexible work arrangements, paid leave, and equal pay.
“Today, more women are their family’s main breadwinner than ever before. Women are nearly half of our Nation’s workers, and they are increasingly among the most skilled. At the same time, more than 60 percent of women with children under the age of 5 participate in the labor force. This increasing participation of women in our workforce has bolstered our economy and strengthened our families, and it has demonstrated that the policies that benefit women and working families benefit all of us.
But not all of the rules that govern our workplaces have caught up with this reality, and today, too many of the opportunities that our mothers and grandmothers fought for are going unrealized. That is why I am committed to tearing down the barriers to full and equal participation in our economy and society that still exist for too many women. All women deserve equal pay for equal work and a living wage; the Congress needs to raise the minimum wage and pass a law that ensures a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. I continue to call for increased workplace flexibility and access to paid leave — including paid sick leave — so that hardworking Americans do not have to choose between being productive employees and responsible family members. And I have proposed a plan that would make quality child care available to every middle-class and low-income family in America with young children. These are not only women’s issues — they are family issues and national economic priorities.”
Here are some of the programs and initiatives Diversity Best Practices member companies are doing to celebrate Women’s History Month:
AXA is recognizing Women’s History Month this March to celebrate women’s contributions to events in history and society. AXA’s activities are being coordinated by Women’s Outreach at Work (WOW), one of AXA’s Employee Resource Groups.
This month is an opportunity to raise awareness of WOW’s mission of empowering and supporting women, educating employees to help them achieve their personal and professional goals, and supporting AXA as a preferred employer for women in financial services. WOW took the national theme of Women’s History Month, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” into consideration in their planning for the month:
In addition to the above events, WOW will provide opportunities for AXA employees to join in on the conversation online via the company intranet. WOW will post a weekly forums relating to Women’s History Month that employees can respond to (e.g. What woman, past or current, inspires you and why?). Furthermore, employees are encouraged to share their stories, insights and inspiration on the intranet throughout the month of March.
Barclay’s is launching the UN’s HeForShe campaign internally for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. This campaign is being rolled out across all of their offices and business units. HeForShe is a global UN campaign which aims to engage one billion men in the advancement of women’s rights. Barclays sponsored the launch events in New York and Singapore, and is launching an internal campaign to encourage colleagues to sign up.
While HeForShe is expansive in scope, Barclay’s has tailored it to link to talent management and engagement of their women, with a strong link to citizenship and community investment.
On International Women’s Day, the Diversity and Inclusion team will be launching an internal year-long campaign to bring more men into the discussion around gender in the workplace and in their communities. In phase 1 of the campaign, men will be asked to make 2/3 commitments from the following categories:
Barclay’s is asking each member of the Council to sign up to the campaign, publically support it and to make commitments in the above categories. They will be taking photographs of the Council members with a HeForShe placard which they will use to show leadership support within Barclays.
Health Care Services Corporation
In celebration of Women’s History Month, employees at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), operator of Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, joined forces to bring awareness to the extraordinary successes of women. The W.I.S.E. (Women Improving the Strength of the Enterprise) business resource group is celebrating Women’s History Month in multiple ways.
To kick off Women’s History Month W.I.S.E, an employee-driven group, hosted a live event for employees. The event featured an interview with HCSC’S President and Chief Executive Officer Patricia A. Hemingway Hall. The candid interview, moderated by W.I.S.E. Enterprise Chair Michelle Riddell, focused on Hemingway Hall’s personal career and history within the health care industry. Hemingway Hall discussed the importance of having a mentor throughout her career and taking stretch assignments to increase her leadership skills. As a company, nearly 60% of the management positions are held by women, 30% are in senior leadership roles (3 out of 4 executive vice presidents are women) and women represent 35% of HCSC’s board of directors.
During the event, Hemingway Hall also presented an inaugural award to the Sue Hunt, DSVP of Human Resources. This new annual award, The WISEst One of All, was launched to recognize women who have made a significant impact on HCSC’s workplace.
To bring further awareness of Women’s History Month, W.I.S.E. volunteers coordinated a “WOW (Wall of Women) Wall,” in which employees have the opportunity to honor women who have made a lasting impact on their lives. Employees are invited to share personal stories and inspiring tributes.
W.I.S.E business resource group promotes mutually beneficial relationships, by leveraging the unique talents of women with a focus on fostering innovative change, creating professional development opportunities and contributing to business success.
In recognition of Women’s History Month in March, the FINRA Women’s Network employee resource group will be celebrating the successes and achievements of FINRA women at all levels across the organization.
The FINRA Women’s Network highlighted the 2015 National Women’s History Month theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” in a huge way this year! The FINRA Women’s Network provided employees the opportunity to hear from two internal female senior level executives, Susan Schroeder, Senior Vice President & Counsel, Enforcement and Gerri Walsh, Senior Vice President, Office of Investor Education who shared their stories, and discussed their personal and professional accomplishments as leaders at FINRA. Susan Schroeder is also the Executive Sponsor of the FINRA Asian Professional Association and Gerri Walsh is the Executive Sponsor of the FINRA Military Community employee resource group. This platform allowed employees to hear a very candid conversation between senior level executives. Employees were also allowed to ask questions of interest following the panel discussion. Local employees were encouraged to attend in person, while remote employees across FINRA offices joined the live session via WebEx and teleconference.
Also in March, the FINRA Women’s Network Management Committee Members held a face- to- face strategic planning session in Rockville, MD to continue strategy discussions on future Women’s Network key initiatives for 2015. The FINRA Women’s Network Executive Sponsor is Robert Marchman, Executive Vice President, Market Regulation—Legal Administration.
In addition, the FINRA Women’s Network will further celebrate Women’s History Month in their March Issue of FWN Connect, a newsletter developed solely by the FINRA Women’s Network that is provided to their membership of 712 men and women across FINRA locations.
New York Life
New York Life is celebrating Women’s History Month with a theme of “Creating a Culture of Courage” and programming that targets the mission of The Women’s Initiative at New York Life – Be Confident, Be Connected, Be Committed (development, networking, giving back). The Women’s Initiative is New York Life’s employee resource group for women. The company is kicking off the month by hosting Cindy Solomon, author of The Courage Challenge. Ms. Solomon will share her insights about how courage has become the new leadership differentiator. She will discuss the different types of courage, when to invoke each, and how women can build courage skills to enable them to become better leaders. Ms. Solomon’s presentation will be followed by Live Collage, a New York Life tradition where employees share stories of women who have exemplified exceptional courage in order to make a difference in history or succeed in their chosen field of study/career. NY Life’s intranet will also highlight a few employees sharing their feelings about Women’s History Month. At the end of the month, there will be a networking breakfast with members of The Women’s Initiative and senior leaders discussing Ms. Solomon’s book. Finally, the company will host a Dress for Success suit drive, another New York Life Women’s History Month custom.
The Women’s Network ERG at PG&E is planning a few options for their membership: a mentoring walk pairing women Directors with mentees in an informal setting, which also promotes health and wellness; and they will be showing motivational/inspirational videos celebrating powerful women during a noon time event.
Activating Women’s History Month … All Year Long
Women’s History Month at PNC is just one of 12 months that demonstrate the contributions and achievements of women, and show the power of strong relationships with women and women-run businesses. PNC is a year-round supporter of women in the workplace and in the marketplace. Events have been under way since January and will continue throughout the year. “PNC continues to support this important demographic segment because we are keenly aware of the significant role women play in the workforce, workplace and marketplace,” said Marsha Jones, chief diversity officer. “While Women’s History Month is a time to pause, reflect and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of women, we believe it’s important to celebrate and support them year-round.”
Market activity PNC hosts and sponsors dozens of events in support of women all year long, and the majority of those events are not part of Women’s History Month. They are simply how the bank does business year-round. With the support of the Regional Diversity and Inclusion Councils, here are a few of the highlights.
Zurich North America
A series of articles will be written highlighting Zurich leaders in celebration of International Women’s Day. The articles will focus on highlighting women leaders within the Zurich organization. These articles will share insights and businesses successes that these individuals have achieved in their career. The articles will be published on our intranet site, “Channel Z” one time each week in March.
The WIN Human Resources Business Partner, Gisel Dexter, invited members of the WIN Leadership Team, as well as their committee members, to take part in Diversity Best Practices’ web seminar titled “The Business of Empowering Women.”