This Women’s History Month we went on the road to shine a light on Washington women’s leadership. On our Together Equal Tour we visited five communities – Seattle, Yakima, Walla Walla, Vancouver, and Mount Vernon – to talk with 19 women leaders about the ways Washingtonians can come together for gender equity.
On the road we explored the common and unique challenges women are facing throughout our state. For many of the women who joined us for each of these events, the issue of equity in the workplace was top of mind.
Jennifer Aichele, Executive Assistant/HR of Columbia Rural Electric Association in Walla Walla, shared the importance for employers to understand the difference between equality and equity. “Equity is about fairness and being impartial … successful employers need to have both equity and equality in the workplace.”
Beyond engaging employers in workplace equity, Mina Worthington – President & CEO of Solarity Credit Union in Yakima – said she encourages the women she mentors to advocate for themselves the way men advocate for themselves at work and at home.
Women amplifying their voices and leadership was a consistent theme throughout our tour. At every stop, women wanted to know how they can grow as leaders and encourage leadership in other women and girls.
“Society pits women against each other, but women are stronger when we support each other. We need to teach younger generations to speak out and be more confident,” said Rosalba Pitkin, Diversity Outreach Specialist at Clark College in Vancouver.
Encouraging youth and mentoring women in their communities was a common motivator for our panelists.
Patricia Whitefoot, President of the National Indian Education Association, shared how Yakama youth have been a constant inspiration for her leadership and growth into many different roles. For her, the youth give her hope despite the many challenges they face.
For many of our panelists mentoring youth, and other women, was their way of paying forward the mentorship and encouragement they received.
Dr. Sheila Edwards Lange, President of Seattle Central College, said mentoring doesn’t have to be formal. Mentorship can be as simple as getting coffee with someone or meeting for a quick chat.
As we explored all of these issues with our powerhouse panelists – we learned how relevant our mission, vision, and initiatives are to women throughout our state. Your support made this tour possible, and ensures that women across Washington have the opportunity to lead and thrive.
We are a force for change for women and girls, and your support is helping us grow our work throughout Washington. We look forward to the next Together Equal Tour and hope you will join us.