We need action now to ensure we see equality during our lifetime. I founded Teneral Cellars a year ago because I wanted a better world with equality and justice for all. I wanted to see women in leadership positions on par with men and with equal pay, so I asked myself, “what I was doing to be part of the solution” whether in the wine industry or throughout this country and around the world. Women purchase 67% of all wine yet the industry doesn’t reflect its largest customer. To elevate women and inspire change I needed to do something drastic, something disruptive, or honestly, nothing would change. I chose to create Teneral Cellars as a woman owned and run wine business using wine as a conduit for change. We donate 10% of profits back to charities that empower women so that we are using our work to do good. We decided to create quarterly themes for our wine releases so we can educate, connect, and empower our community to take action. Just like a swarm of dragonflies, we believe that if everyone engages in our call to actions each week, that the cumulative effect would create the transformation needed in the world. This is what we call the “Dragonfly Effect.” If empowered women empower other women, we can be the change we want to see in the world as Maya Angelou so eloquently said.
So many women are enraged, educated, and are fed up with the status quo, but if the pace of change stays the same, according to the World Economic Forum, it will take 208 years to gain full equality for women. Read that again! Yes, it does say 208 years to reach equality for women at the pace we are going now. How is this possible when women are the supermajority in this country where we are free, smart, educated, and motivated? As Melinda Gates says “the good news is that the fight for equality in the U.S. is at a tipping point. Now, more than ever, we have the knowledge, the energy, and the moral insight to crack the patterns of history. Now, more than ever, we know what we need to do to stand up for equality in our homes, in our workplace, and in our communities.”
Here’s the reality, according to the Global Gender Gap Report,
- Out of the 149 countries WEF measures, the U.S. ranks 98th in representation of women in our political institutions—behind Pakistan, Iraq, and the United Arab Emirates. Women make up less than 25% of Congress. And the U.S., unlike 59 other countries, has yet to elect a woman head of state.
- The U.S. is close to gender parity in health, but we’ve faced worrying setbacks in the past decade. Life expectancy in the U.S. has declined slightly for everybody since 2006, but the decline for women is four times what it is for men. The U.S. has the worst maternal mortality rate of any country in the developed world. Three times as many women die in childbirth in the U.S. as in the U.K., five times as many as in Australia, and seven times as many as in Finland.
- Women now earn more than two-thirds of the master’s degrees and the majority of doctoral degrees. However, those gains in education have yet to pay off: Women are underrepresented in careers related to nine of the 10 highest-paying undergraduate majors (e.g., statistics, computer science). And even armed with the same college major, men typically enter into higher-paying occupations.
- Men and women in the American workplace are unequal at every level. The U.S. ranks 59th in women’s labor force participation overall, and only 6.6% of our Fortune 500 companies have a woman CEO. Moreover, the progress we are making is slow: in the last 13 years, 16 countries, including Namibia, Cameroon, and Botswana, have surpassed the U.S. in women’s labor force participation.
WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION! Every day you can be the change you want to see in the world and show people around you what empowerment looks like for the women and girls in your life. It’s time to step into your confident self and step up to protect those who are vulnerable. Here are five things you can do daily to empower others.
- To create a new norm for what’s appropriate and expected of women in the workplace, be assertive in your work meetings.
- When you hear inappropriate comments about you or another woman, point it out to make it very clear that it’s unacceptable.
- Women are being bullied and harassed every day. By supporting a woman who’s being harassed or bullied, you are showing solidarity and adding validity to her claims.
- When a woman is being gossiped about, defend her to create a safer environment and to remove the stigma.
- Give praise and congratulate a woman who is succeeding. Share in each other’s accomplishments and lift her up.
We seem to have an unlimited supply of criticism for each other as women, but praise and complimenting each other scarcely. We need to flip that dynamic and support each other, praise each other, and give out an abundance of positive compliments. Imagine the good energy you will be putting out in the world if you increased the number of compliments, you gave out daily. Imagine how good the person receiving the compliment would feel.
I know this is a simple belief, but I do believe if women would start supporting each other unconditionally, that we could rule the world tomorrow, and the world would be a kinder, gentler, more compassionate place. We ARE the supermajority, so it’s time we empower each other and reap the rewards of the cumulative effect of all of us empowering, elevating and supporting each other. Be a part of the Dragonfly Effect!
If not now, then when? If not us, then who? If the future is female and we don’t want to wait another 208 years, then now is the time. Start now empowering women to transform our societies with the five action steps above, and in addition to that, share this post with other empowered women. We can do this!