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Women Still Need Seats at Every Table

June 12, 2020

Inspiration for women, feminists, women’s rights, women entrepreneurs

Today’s blog post is a recap from a post I wrote in August 2018 after attending a brilliant conference on women’s rights hosted by In light of equality issues being in the news headlines everywhere in our globe for Black Lives Matters, which I support, it reminds me of my personal two-decade passion of supporting women’s equality – especially pay equality. I hope today’s blog post reminds you we need equality across the board in many areas of life.

“If they don’t give you a chair at the table, bring a folding chair,” was a quote by Shirley Chisholm once said to inspire women to invite themselves to the tables where they weren’t allowed. Shirley knew what she was talking about. She was the first black woman elected to the United States Congress in 1968 completing seven terms. In 1972, she was the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States. Her quote was shared with women of all ages, backgrounds, and professions at the start of Seneca Falls Revisited: Women’s Equality Weekend.

What I basked in most from the three-day conference was the number of new women I met especially African American women. The conference was run by a team of dynamic, intelligent black feminists who welcomed me into their fold as a major sponsor and break-out presenter. I have always loved the energy of black women for reasons I do not know since I was brought up in a fairly white town surrounded by mostly Italian families. All I know is women of all ages intrigued me and probably not having enough African American women in my life made me appreciate them when I met them or learned from them.

I liked walking out of this event with a better understanding of the struggles black women faced because of both their color and sex. When white women have to worry about equality issues, black women still face discrimination on race and sex…not to mention age at times too. A female Indian presenter named Jenifer Rajkumar, a New York City politician, community leader and human rights lawyer talked about the importance of “getting in the room” and being part of the discussion if you aren’t invited based on who you are. As she reminded the crowd, Rosa Parks didn’t have to say a word, but she had to be on the bus sitting in a seat for people to take notice. Change takes practicing your activist voice and using your courage muscle.

“Step away and ask yourself what is most important to you and then create a vehicle to share it with other people,” said the last speaker of the day. Before I returned to work today, I sat near my pool meditating on the words I wrote down and the ones in my head still and created a new vision to wrap my passion for women in business, sports and equality into one larger entity so I can sit on that folding chair Shirley talked about flexing my courage muscle and using my activist voice to create as much positive change for women as I can in the areas of life that resonate with my pink spirit.

There is so much to do still to lift up women that each woman must listen to one or two equality passions that swirl inside their soul and commit to do something about it starting today! One of the main items is to help lobby for and pass the Equal Rights Amendment. As an older woman told me, “women have had timelines forever and look where they have gotten us…not far enough to protect women’s unalienable rights.” What will you do to commit to positive change for women?

Perhaps start by registering for the 2020’s virtual 100th Anniversary of Suffrage Conference online July 23-25th. You will be amazed at what you will learn from a diverse group of outstanding leaders in the fight for women’s rights. I am joining them for sure. I hope to see you there too.

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