Celebrating Women Should Be More Than Recognizing Workplace Equality

March, in case you didn’t know, is Women’s History Month. While social media will be inundated with pastel-colored infographics about the contributions women (or anyone who identifies as such) have made to society, for those of us in the workforce, our day-to-day lives and duties won’t change much, beyond a DEI-sponsored pizza party or celebratory cupcake.

By Gwen Farrell3 min read

With corporate-approved jargon and #girlboss attitudes becoming more prevalent at every turn, we might start to ponder how we fit into a heavily curated celebration of our own gender. If we’re in the workplace, we’re commended as accomplished, driven, ambitious individuals. If we’re homemakers and mothers, not so much. Celebrating women should be more than recognizing so-called workplace equality, and it’s time that we recognize that women are indispensable in whatever role they fill, even if it deviates from the accepted archetype of the postmodern standard.

We Are More Than Diversity Quotas

Women’s History Month, following Black History Month and preceding Pride Month, is a corporate dream. Like any arbitrary celebration of a specific group, it focuses on abstract concepts like bringing “awareness” to their contributions without the organization in question having to actually change their policies to be beneficial to the group in question.

Big name corporations like Deloitte, KPMG, General Mills, IBM, and Abbott frequently top compiled lists of “the best companies for working moms,” but simultaneously fall short in areas like paid maternity leave, or offering maternity leave at all, according to one advocacy group. These are the same corporations that spend considerable amounts of money on their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, or designated workplace programs aimed at amplifying minorities, which, more often than not, organize and direct mandatory trainings and seminars tinged with progressive woke-speak and political correctness.

Celebrating women should mean celebrating all that we are and all that we want to be.

Through the lens of so-called “intersectionality,” women are the targeted group for DEI programs, especially if they’re non-religious, belong to an ethnic group, and are not heterosexual. The more labels, the better. Now that gender dynamics are becoming increasingly fraught by debates on biological gender, diversity, equity, and inclusion policies have grown to encompass transgender ideologies, which speaks volumes more than any other action could. Now, we can be absolutely certain that these workplaces aren’t concerned with amplifying women’s voices, but achieving a quota for their own promotional purposes.

Women As Whole Humans

The book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, written by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and published in 2013, was an unprecedented publication at the time. It features zippy anecdotes and personal advice from successful female media moguls like Arianna Huffington, Tina Fey, and Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo. Though the publication is a commemoration of powerful women in the workplace and a persuasive treatise on “having it all,” it’s since been lambasted by critics on both the right and the left, who argue (among other things) that it promotes watered-down feminism as a means to an end, the end being capitalism. “Leaning in” is now a corporate buzzword for a woman seamlessly ascending the ranks of the corporate ladder by embracing her inner wage slave.

One chapter by Judith Rodin, former president of the Rockefeller Foundation and the first female president of an Ivy League university, criticizes why “highly successful” women end up leaving the workforce to become wives and mothers, with some of them even committing the ultimate anti-feminist offense: never returning. Lean In may have been the feminist playbook of our Tumblr girlboss-influenced dreams, but it didn’t age very well, nor did it honestly examine women as whole human beings. That is, humans who want to fulfill a natural urge for home and family.

Though it has accomplished good things in the realm of normalizing conversations on the importance of masculinity, the nuclear family, and other ‘conservative’ beliefs, the online red pill and other Twitter trad movements aren’t much better. Women who are fortunate enough to leave the workforce for good or to stay home immediately following marriage and motherhood often denigrate single career women as being beyond help, citing that they’ll eventually “hit the wall” of being single and childless as they slog through middle age. Women who are unmarried, past the age of 30, and employed to support themselves until they get married are criticized with the same callousness as the feminists criticizing the wives and mothers these women desperately want to be.

We Deserve More

Women are more than generalizations, more than quotas, and more than either/or. But, a faux concern for women and even a month-long corporate celebration for them (which, frankly, borders on insulting) is the inevitable result of the greatest innovation employers have devised in the last two decades: the workplace as a “family.”

Your employer is not your family, nor should they be. That’s what your home is for. 

Any workplace, even the most toxic one you can think of (we all have that one job our mind immediately goes to), can describe itself as a family. They’re there for you no matter what, to protect you, celebrate your accomplishments, and encourage your advancement. If only this were true.

As most women know, your employer is not your family, nor should they be. That’s what your home is for. If you’re married, this includes your husband and kids, and if you’re single, this includes your parents, siblings, roommates, and best friends. There should be people outside your workplace you can turn to for comfort and support. And if any workplace is telling you how much they celebrate you just because you’re a woman (regardless of your qualifications), you deserve much more.

Celebrating women should mean celebrating all that we are and all that we want to be, especially if that includes wanting to be a mom and a homemaker. You shouldn’t need cleverly designed Instagram infographics to tell you how much your employer or other corporate entity supports women by virtue of them being women. You deserve an employer who celebrates you regardless of what HR-promoted month it is and encourages your ambitions, even if that means pursuits outside their mission. And you deserve a home and a family (whatever that may look like) that encourages your formation of self and the achievement of your dreams.

Closing Thoughts

Women’s History Month may have your email subscriptions working overtime, but as most of us know, it’s just like any other month. Women will continue to be homemakers, mothers, and women with careers, or all of the above, regardless of whatever corporate holiday it is. Our accomplishments, responsibilities, and ambitions deserve to be recognized each and every day. Don’t fall for the nonsensical buzzwords promising to celebrate you for your gender or promising to achieve workplace equality. Demand recognition based on your qualifications and accomplishments, not your gender, and demand respect regardless of whatever role you’re in.

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