Taking Action: Women’s History Month 2021

If you want to hear about the heroic and inspiring stories of women who’ve prevailed despite the obstacles laid in front of them, how they’ve forged paths for others to follow, or how they’ve contributed to advancements of civilizations and our modern societies, you need only look to the internet. Just research “badass women” or “women’s history.”

In fact, with Women’s History Month upon us, there is a plethora of information at our fingertips to inspire, to challenge, to chart a more equitable course for all women. Here is some excellent information that has inspired us at Demandbase. We think perhaps it might resonate with you in some way, as it does for us.

Origins of Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month recognizes and celebrates women’s contributions throughout history across many disciplines from culture and entertainment, to the natural sciences and politics.

According to Wikipedia, “March is celebrated as Women’s History Month in the U.S., the U.K., and Australia, corresponding with International Women’s Day on March 8. Canada celebrates Women’s History Month in October, corresponding to Canada’s Persons Day on October 18.”

“[Women’s History Month]  traces it back to March 8, 1857, when women from various New York City factories staged a protest over working conditions.” (US Census Bureau) In 1907, International Women’s Day was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of that protest. There is some controversy over the actual origins, as no one is exactly sure if the protest actually took place. (When you get a chance, read, “The Surprising History of International Women’s Day,” by Sara Pruitt on history.com. It’s fascinating.)

In any case, as of 1975, the United Nations General Assembly officially began celebrating March 8 as International Women’s Day. In the United States, it was expanded to Women’s History Week in 1980 by Presidential Proclamation from President Jimmy Carter, and then officially expanded to Women’s History Month in 1987 by Congressional law. (Check out Women’s History Month 2021, on history.com)

Women’s History Month, 2021 theme

According to the National Women’s History Museum, “Since 1995, each president has issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” And The National Women’s History Alliance selects and publishes the yearly theme.”

The theme for Women’s History Month in 2021 is actually the same one that was planned in 2020, but never took place due to COVID-19. So this year’s theme is again “Valiant Women of the Vote: Refusing to Be Silenced,” focusing on women’s political involvement and leadership. This is especially relevant this year as we now have our first woman vice president with Kamala Harris.

Interesting facts about women

“As recent years have painfully indicated, inequality and sexism is still very much alive and prevalent in the United States (as well as the rest of the world). Recent research found that 42 percent of women still face gender discrimination at work. They also face the “motherhood penalty,” in which women earn less money after they become mothers while men who become fathers actually earn more. These prevailing inequities are exactly why Women’s History Month, which is recognized in March, matters so much.” —By Jo Yurcaba, “21 Fascinating Women’s History Month Facts,” in Woman’s Day, 2021.

Here’s more:
  • 166 Million: The number of females in the United States as of July 2018. The number of males was 161.1 million. (US Census Bureau)
  • 2 to 1: The approximate ratio by which women age 85 and older outnumbered men in 2018 (4.2 million to 2.3 million). (US Census Bureau)
  • 78.4 million: The number of females age 16 and older who participated in the civilian labor force in 2018. This comprises 58.3% of females age 16 and older. (US Census Bureau)
  • Credit cards: Women couldn’t get credit cards on their own until 1974. (Shout out to Ruth Bader Ginsburg for helping to balance the credit playing field.) (NPR)
  • 19: The percentage of women in 1900 in the U.S. that held jobs. By 1998, this number had tripled to 60%. (PBS)
  • 81.6 cents: The amount earned by women for every dollar earned by males in 2018. (US Census Bureau)
  • March 24, 2021: The next Equal Pay Day. This date symbolizes how far into the year women must work to earn what men earned in the previous year. (equalpaytoday.org)
  • 57: The percentage of Bachelor’s degrees earned by women. (NCES)
  • 27: The percentage of Congress that’s made up of women (the highest percentage in U.S. history!) 143 women serve in the United States Congress out of 535 total members. (Pew Research)

Looking at inequities in tech

Despite all the huge strides that have been made in regards to the representation of women in the workforce, there is still a lot of inequality in the tech industry. What’s more, it doesn’t look like this inequality will end any time soon.

As of 2018, women held only 25 percent of all the jobs in the tech industry, despite women making up almost half of the total workforce. What’s worse, this number is lower than the percentage of tech jobs held by women back in the 1980s. (National Center for Information Technology)

Badass Woman with a red cape

We can all help do our part to remedy this.

Some things we all can do include:

  • Educating students about tech and its role in shaping the world.
  • Increasing visibility of female role models in the industry. (We have many at Demandbase!)
  • Ditching damaging dialogues that perpetuate the stereotype that tech is a man’s world.

Here at Demandbase, we have an employee resource group (ERG)  called Women@DB to help empower the women at our organization and beyond our walls. For the month of March, we’ve organized a number of activities and opportunities in celebration of Women’s History Month. These are open for all at Demandbase to attend, not just our badass women!

These are just some of the events that we are holding in March:

  • Profiling the Badass Women of Demandbase: We’ve asked our female colleagues to share if they — aside from their day jobs — have a side hustle or passion project, have a cause they advocate for, and what women have inspired them. We’re sharing their stories for everyone to hear — because their voices shall not be silenced! (Check out Four Badass Women at Demandbase and Their Side Hustles on our blog.)
  • A Moment of Thanks and Recognition: We are getting together (virtually) to create thank you/love notes to the women for whom we’d like to show appreciation (whether within Demandbase or beyond).
  • Imposter Syndrome Workshop: We have a special guest presenter for a workshop we are holding on how to combat imposter syndrome. To empower women to be badass!
  • Equal Pay Day Workshop: On March 24, we have a one-hour workshop planned on how to negotiate a fair wage and not get left behind.
  • Book Club: This month, we are reading Becoming by Michelle Obama. Then we are meeting up for a discussion at the end of the month to share our impressions and expand our understanding.

Education and empowerment!

Some resources well worth exploring:

LinkedIn Group: Women in B2B Network

Groups promoting women in technology and STEM:

Vice President of Product Marketing, Demandbase

I'm responsible for go-to-market initiatives and product strategy at Demandbase. I thrive on customer interaction and engagement and love to build and mentor teams. I act as a coach and make sure my team members shine on their own merits while making sure they have the support they need for that success.