OpEd: A Call for Accountability on International Women’s Day

From historic headlines dismantling people who have abused their positions of power to take advantage or unfairly influence their female counterparts, to various marches and public displays of solidarity (I’m looking at you, Hollywood), there is no doubt that this year has seen a lot of momentum behind the push for women’s equality.

Taking a step back to look at what we’re asking for today, it’s surprising at just how simple the ask is. It’s nothing earth-shattering and it’s nothing that should take years and millions to do. Women are simply asking for accountability. Accountability is what permeates throughout each published headline, every testimonial.

I asked my fellow female comrades to weigh in on their perception of the progress they’ve seen over the last year, and how they want to see others support the push for equality. And the responses I got back were all different – but between the lines, the same idea of accountability was jumping off the page.

Mousumi Behari, Director, Digital Solutions: “I’m excited by the progress made, especially this year with movements such as #MeToo because now, after a long time, we have a voice that is being heard. Now the conversation needs to change from what has happened, to what actions are going to be taken to ensure that women are valued, treated fairly and given the same opportunities to excel as their male counterparts. #PressForProgress for me is about breaking through boundaries, disproving stereotypes and instilling positivity in people.” Carrie Mastrorocco, Recruiting: “Some of the best progress women have made recently is recognizing how far we have to go. We should take great pride for breaking the silence and pacifism.  Our next steps become the norm for the next line of women’s leadership. I’d like to see service become an integral part of every organization. If we ask our team to deliver at exceptional levels, we need to revive them by giving them the chance to give back. Nothing refuels like refueling someone else. I’d love to see Chicago tech focus on opportunities to help correct the underrepresentation of women in tech.” Yana Vaysman, Head of Client Engagement: “IWD should be a norm and not an exception…If you want to change things, start with yourself and your family. As a leader, promote, mentor and nurture talent.”

The movement for women’s equality isn’t about making anyone uncomfortable or scared to talk to a woman about what is going on in her life, it’s about making sure she has a seat at the table. Making sure a woman is treated fairly and feels safe in their surroundings. Support the women on your team, make sure they’re being heard, encourage them to speak up, even if you don’t agree with them, and give them the same opportunities you would like to see for yourself. Or for your own daughter, sister, friend.

Accountability isn’t a foreign concept. Everyone is asked to be held accountable in every facet of their lives – to show up and do their jobs, to take care of their families, to uphold promises to friends and community.

Be accountable and stay accountable for your actions, for your words and for what you promise to do to support those around you.

So, it should be a simple and easy request to fulfill on behalf of women around the world…Right?

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