Women’s History Month is an opportunity to celebrate the many ways in which women have shaped the world and helped change history, culture, and society, often in the face of tremendous adversity. Despite the many achievements of women throughout history, women continue to face barriers to equality and discrimination in the workplace, in politics, and in society at large.
The month-long celebration is a reminder that the struggle for gender equality is ongoing—women are earning 73 cents for every dollar earned by men. And the wage gap is even wider for women of color; Black women earn 64 cents and Latina women earn 54 cents for every dollar earned by white men. This is disheartening at a minimum, and we must continue to work toward a future where all women have an equal opportunity to succeed and thrive.
This March, as we celebrate Women’s History Month across the United States, APCO’s Women’s Leadership Employee Resource Group (WLG) leadership team took the opportunity to reflect and share their experiences as a woman in the workplace, and how they envision a better future for women at work.
– Melissa Petito, Ginna Royalty, Lanesha Reagan, and Katherine Mackinnon, WLG Co-Chairs
“Being a woman in the workplace is what I expected. It’s challenging, rewarding, and exciting. I see the powerful women that I work with every day and I’m certain that being a woman in the workforce will continue to change for the better. I can only expect that women will continue to show up for themselves, build community and support each other. Being a woman in the workplace means supporting myself and supporting the next generation of women leaders. It also means creating a space where we can share about our successes and our hardships, always encouraging a more empathetic working environment.” – Nicole Golvala, Associate Director
“While being a woman in the workplace has been largely positive for me, I have made many adjustments over the arc of my career to navigate difficult scenarios. Early on, I looked to senior woman leaders to mentor me. Now, more than ever, I serve as a mentor to others. I’m proud to be a leader of the Women’s Leadership Group because I believe that reaching out – whether up, down, or sideways – is crucial to empowering this and the next generation of women.” – Katherine Mackinnon, Director
“To me, being a woman in the workplace comes with great responsibility; it is about more than just succeeding for yourself, but also being an advocate for other women. Everyone has something to teach, and I personally find it a privilege to provide mentorship for the next generation of women. In the future, I hope that women will have the same opportunities to succeed in their careers as men and that being a woman will no longer feel like an obstacle, but instead a source of strength and innovation.” – Melissa Petito, Director
“Being a woman in the workplace is difficult, but rewarding. Nothing makes me happier than helping other women grow in their careers and connecting on a personal level with those that understand the struggle and the changing dynamic of being a woman in the corporate world. As I look toward the future, I want the workplace to become friendlier to women, at all points of their lives. I find so much joy in my career, but I want opportunities to grow in my personal life and also grow in my career without having to give up items that are important to me. Beyond that, I want to be respected and viewed as a full person when I’m in the workplace, not just an employee.” – Lanesha Reagan, Senior Consultant
“I hope that future generations of women in the workforce won’t have the same challenges we see today – pay equity, unequal division of household responsibilities, parental leave, and more. Women, and especially women of color, start with a disadvantage when entering the workforce and it’s on employers to help ensure equity across the board.” – Ginna Royalty, Associate Director