Why Women Now
The past years have seen a tremendous mobilization of women, from #MeToo and Time’s Up to climate strikes and marches for political freedom. The potential to shift women’s political, economic, and social power is profound, so how will this activism be harnessed to fundamentally change our nation’s course? What is the agenda for women going into the 2020 elections? Hear from corporate and political leaders who are galvanizing the energy, anger, and power of women to create an inclusive and diverse women’s agenda.
Alicia GarzaFounder of Black Futures Lab and Black Lives Matter
Lola AdedokunExecutive Director of Aspen Global Innovators Group at Aspen Institute
Peggy ClarkExecutive Director of the Aspen Global Innovators Group
Cecile RichardsCo-Founder of Supermajority
Anne MosleExecutive director of Ascend at the Aspen Institute
Myla CalhounPresident of the Alabama Power Foundation
Right now, women comprise 41 percent of the labor force in the United States and are making 80 percent of consumer purchasing decisions. Despite these indicators of women’s economic power, the upper echelons of the corporate world remain largely white and male-dominated. When you have been in the position of knowing what it feels like to be unseen, says Myla Calhoun, president of the nonprofit-funding Alabama Power Foundation, there's an urgency to change that for other women.
Big IdeaLet's not fall prey to the psychology of scarcity, that if one or two or three of us [women] are in a room, that's enough... We must indeed lean into each other, support one another, lift up each other, and correct one another when necessary. All in the spirit of love, of love, and love.Myla Calhoun
How can corporations level the playing field? One way is to make strategic investments that create more equity around access. “So that’s investing in programs that cause the elevation of opportunity for people who normally don’t get that break,” Calhoun explains. Her organization, for example, provides grant funding for projects that address underserved communities, with initiatives ranging from healthcare, to the arts, to environmental stewardship. And Calhoun herself is personally dedicated to the developing of talent among young women of color.
Women are the supermajority in America. They’re not just an overwhelming majority of voters, but most activists, organizers, and, increasingly, candidates are women, says former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. So how do you galvanize the supermajority? Watch Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, explain her vision for what’s possible:
The 2020 election is coming, and leaders in the women’s movement are organizing. It’s important to remind people, urges Alicia Garza, that the issues impacting women are of national importance and affect everyone. That’s why Cecile Richards says she is ready to watch a presidential debate where, when a question comes up about equal pay or access to affordable childcare, it’s asked of a man. “I am so sick of the women always getting the questions that are supposedly women's issues,” she says.
Big IdeaI don't get to walk out of my house each day and decide I'm not going to be a woman today, I'm not going to be black today, I'm not going to be queer today. I don't get to do that. Right? But I do get to demand that the people who represent me don't try to look through me, but try to have a conversation with me about how to make my life better. That's what we deserve from a political system.Alicia Garza
We are whole people, Garza says, and it's long past time that our political system and our political representatives reflect the people who live in this country and respond to the issues that shape their lives.
How do you build a movement? The trick, says Alicia Garza, is to use language and practice — let people know that this is a home for you. Watch Garza and Cecile Richards speak about their aspirations for a liberation agenda beyond the 2020 election and what excites them most about the gender equity movement:
Big IdeaWe want to do more than resist. We actually want to imagine what a country could look like where women are equal and where we actually can live in that country. Let's go build that.Cecile Richards