Behind Every Woman

 Two-year-old Parker Curry admires the portrait of Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Two-year-old Parker Curry admires the portrait of Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

Today, March 8, marks International Women’s Day, a celebratory day reserved not only for honoring the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women (which abound), but for advocating gender parity, challenging stereotypes and bias, and elevating the consciousness about the contributions and potential of women. Not of some women, but of all women. For trans women, disabled women, women of all sizes, ages and colors from any and everywhere. Society must be for equality—for equality will only be achieved when we are behind every woman.

Equality arises from rights, representation and respect. It can manifest only after the community as a whole, or at least as a majority, communicates on every level its complete, steadfast commitment to women. Each year, we ennoble love on Valentine’s Day, defend the humanity of our African American brothers and sisters on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., and recommit to protecting the environment on Earth Day, but society mustn’t nod to these noble causes only on the designated holiday. Just as we should celebrate life beyond our birthdays (unsurprisingly, at YUI+Company, we are firm believers in celebrating birthmonths), we must live each day lifting up the values these milestones mark. To us, every day is and must be International Women’s Day.

Women comprise over 50% of the population. By any measure, it is not a man’s world, and we will not stand idly by and accept any claim to the contrary. In film, politics, the boardroom and beyond, representation must reflect reality. When two-year-old Parker Curry visited the National Portrait Gallery last week and was mesmerized by the portrait of Michelle Obama, we were all reminded just how important representation is. We applaud Mattel for releasing 17 dolls in their new “Inspiring Women” series, which includes artist Frida Kahlo, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, and British boxing champion Nicola Adams. Representation matters.

While progress is apparent, clearly, work remains. We must continue to evolve towards equality with not just our words, but also our actions. At YUI+Company, we commit to the following practices suggested by the International Women’s Day campaign, and urge others to join us:

  1. Supportively call-out inappropriate behavior to influence others’ beliefs and actions.
  2. Vote to support women’s economic and sexual rights (particularly acknowledging and lifting up women of color, who as a population are still fighting for income equality, and whose income disparity is widening, not only compared to men but even to other women).
  3. Spend (and don’t spend) money wisely, supporting businesses that stand behind all women, by protecting against sexual harassment, supporting trans rights, and providing maternity leave.

It is not only that “the future is female,” as the trending tagline proclaims. It’s right now.

Courtany Schick