We Cracked the Glass Ceiling. Now What?
Written by Mandy Shold
On November 8, 2016, we cracked the glass ceiling. Did it shatter? No. But neither did our spirits.
At least not that night.
But what’s happened since that unforgettable election night has seemingly felt less like a leap forward and more like a step back. It feels like every minority has been fighting an uphill battle this year – and even at more than half of the country’s population, women are no exception.
A year ago, on the verge of something historic, we boasted “look how far we’ve come.” Now a year later, we are everyday reminded “look how far we’ve fallen.”
Take a look at the big three—politics, media and Hollywood. In the last year, all three have been slandered by misogynistic scandal. Donald Trump. Bill O’Reilly. Harvey Weinstein. And it’s the same story, every time.
Slowly, women come forward to confront their oppressor, and dozens of others flock together to jump to each other’s defense and announce their own run-ins with misconduct. Some of these women are coming forward for the first time, finally empowered to share their tales. But far too many have tried to tell their stories before and had been written-off or, worse yet, slut-shamed and told it was their fault.
In October, Mara Strobel-Lanka wrote about the movement, saying: “All of this is more than a headline. It’s a social norm. It’s an epidemic. It’s a disgrace. And it won’t end until we hold each perpetrator accountable, no matter their position, power or political affiliation.”
Finally, we are seeing these stories come to light and get the attention they deserve. Today, regardless of region or industry, the country is taking a deeper look at “women’s rights.” But here’s the basic truth of it: women’s rights are human rights.
It’s easy to glance back at the last year and feel hopeless. It’s easy to stop, to be discouraged, to be a cynic. It’s easy to give in or succumb to the oppression so many women before us fought to overcome. It’s easy to simply give up.
But when I look at the last year, what sticks out to me the most is hope.
I see hope in the women’s marches, where both women and men kicked off 2017 (and now, 2018) with picket signs and feminist rally cries. From London to Los Angeles, Paris to Pittsburgh, protesters in all 50 states and more than 30 countries joined in to make sure their voices resonated through Washington and the world.
I see hope in the “woke bae”—the partners behind the babes who are fighting for equality alongside the women they love. I find insurmountable hope in the number of men who have come out to support their female friends, coworkers or partners, despite all the turbulence of the last year. (Just take a look at all the male allies who have come out sporting our Babes Who Hustle gear to show their solidarity during the last couple of months! Ladies—these are men to keep around.)
I see hope in the sheer number of women who came forward on social media in recent month with the bravery and strength to post two simple words: #MeToo. The internet saw a massive onslaught of stories as women the world over joined in to say they too had been on the receiving end of sexual harassment, of abuse, of rape. (And you know what? Me-freaking-too.)
It’s easy to look back on the rollercoaster of the past year and only see pain and angst and oppression. But when I look back, I also see so much hope—especially in you. Hope in the babes who, despite everything else, kept on hustling.
Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful and committed citizens can change the world.” She was right—because they’re the only thing that ever has.
The future is ours, babes. Let’s go make it.
Mandy spends her days working in public relations, specializing in sustainability and corporate responsibility - a job which not only fuels her soul but also pays her San Francisco rent. She spends her (virtually nonexistent) free time exploring the Bay Area craft beer scene, working on her rock collection and wishing her cat would be the big spoon sometimes. For additional sass and details of her life held together by caffeine and dry shampoo, follow her on twitter at @WayToRepresent.