Founder Blog: Women's History Month... Here We Go Again

A 4 Years Later Check-In on Where Women Stand in Reaching Equality

I know this article is pretty raw and dark emotionally. I'm tired of accepting the crumb when we (all who identify as women) should be getting the whole pie. 

Read Time: 5-7 minutes
By: Heather Wentler 

It’s March again…I really have issues with this month, the weather being in between seasons, one day it’s parka weather, the next it’s shorts; the “reconnecting” events, I could be at networking events every morning and evening, my introvert is screaming for a book & comfy couch when the event could have been an email or Zoom (I know my millennial is showing). We also lose an hour due to daylight savings.

And the number 1 reason I just am not a fan of March, it’s Women’s History Month.

Women’s History Month, to me, feels like continuing to celebrate women getting the bare minimum, acting thankful for it, and then we get more taken away. You may think this is an exaggeration, but not really. Let’s look at the stats…

In 2020, we released a Brick by Brick article titled How Women’s History Month Misses the Point Year after Year. In that article, I laid out 5 key points. I encourage you to review those points before reading on. Let’s just look at how we compare in 2024 to those stats 4 years ago.

  1. Celebrating Progress and Ignoring Gaps

    1. Gender Wage Gap (2023 stats):

      1. White, able-bodied women = 84% of what a white, able-bodied man earns

      2. African American/Black women = 67%

      3. Hispanic/Latinx women = 54%

      4. Native/Indigenous women = 51%

While we technically celebrated Equal Pay Day on March 12, which is the earliest day ever, that’s really the day white women reached equal the previous year’s wage gap. The site I linked to where I found these stats has the actual days for when all women reached the previous year’s wage gap. The gap between white women and all other women has grown over the past 4 years as well.

  1. VC funding

    1. Women-only teams pulled in 2.8% of all venture funding in 2023, the lowest tally in four years

    2. Glimmer Moment: We did see more VC going into Seed Rounds of companies led by women than ever before

  2. Reproduction health - Do I even need to say anything? If you don’t know, Google it. And Anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation - 474 bills written already in 2024 (many of which include health and safety access for those who identify as women)

  1. There has been no change from what I wrote in 2020 regarding who gets to be on the posters celebrating women’s achievements—we still don’t want to recognize the women who aren’t the “perfect” image.Glimmer moment: I’ve seen many people post about how they’re writing their own women’s history. I love this! They’ve spoken about how they’ve done the work of identifying their own areas for growth and working through past traumas & challenges to be a better woman for themselves, their daughters, and other women. Owning and holding themselves accountable for doing their part while also addressing areas where they let go of the guilt and hold others accountable for the things they’ve done is something to celebrate

  2. There has been no change from what I wrote in 2020 regarding voting rights and how people vote. In fact, we’ve continued to see increased legislation restricting access to voting for certain populations and genders since 2020.

  3. Some gains have been made in “shattering the glass ceiling”. I don’t celebrate 1% success. If a company had a 1% revenue increase year over year, would that company be considered successful? No, we’d see that there is growth potential, and then we’d ask what’s holding them back from moving forward with the growth. Change is hard. Accepting that we need to change is hard. Change is also uncomfortable, and we don’t like being uncomfortable. In fact, we’ll actively try to avoid being uncomfortable by tricking ourselves into believing everything is okay. Thus, complacentment wins, which is anti-change.

Another positive, for the first time ever, this year’s Olympic games in Paris will have full gender parity on the field of play between women & men athletes. It’s a small win considering there’s still contention as to trans and gender-fluid athletes being able to compete as their recognized gender.

  1. I’m just going to copy/paste what I’ve already said because I feel the same 4 years later:“Worst of all, Women’s History Month sends a message that the battles for equality, for autonomy, for representation, for safety, for opportunity — that they have all been won, and we just haven’t done a great job of celebrating how we got here. That could not be further from the truth. The battle is still raging; we are still deep in the trenches and losing allies and soldiers every day thanks to messages of this false victory and celebration.”

Again, yes, there are things to celebrate. Yes, have the events that authentically bring all of us together in a way that actually celebrates women. Celebrate the wins and glimmers, but acknowledge we still have a long way to go and we haven’t reached success. Don’t create an event because “it’s the right thing to do”, and do not bring us together to check a box, or one that asks of us “What can we do to make things better?” and only gives platitudes. Hey women, I’m looking at us too because we do it to each other.

Celebrate women. All Women. EVERY DAY! Honor and recognize what we bring to the world. Let us speak for ourselves. Listen to women, and we need to listen to each other. Ask questions when appropriate. Stay silent when your voice is not required. Feel uncomfortable when it’s essential to do so. Tell the honest stories and a variety of them - not just the ones we’ve heard for 30+ years and not just the “we’ve made it” stories. Highlight the injustices. Celebrate the successes. Hold yourself accountable. Honor yourself. 

If we each started by spending 31 days doing these things, think of the possibilities. Let’s all do better so that we can all be better.

I know parts of this article are pretty raw and dark and may be perceived as coming from “an emotional mindset”, or that I’m angry, but the facts point me to believe what I’ve written - and my anger comes from a place of passion. I’m tired of accepting the crumb when we (all who identify as women) should be getting the whole pie.