Women’s rights in the United States have come a long way over the last century. That said, serious challenges remain, and there are still notable pay gaps and inequities within the workplace. Many organizations, however, are working to address discrimination proactively. Public servant and advocate Deanna Deveney provides insights for organizations looking to build empowering workplaces.
“Women’s rights and equality, in general, have improved greatly in modern times,” notes Deanna Deveney. “It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to where we are now, and we must be careful to keep our foot on the gas; otherwise, we might backslide.”
When folks think of change, they might first think of national laws, such as granting women the right to vote. National and state laws indeed are important. However, change must also be championed at the micro-local level, including within organizations. Ground-level change can have a dramatic and lasting impact.
That’s why Deanna Deveney urges organizations to be proactive in championing social causes, including addressing inequality between genders. By instilling change at the local level, organizations can ensure lasting impact.
“It’s important to get women into leadership and especially public-facing roles,” says Deanna Deveney. “Sometimes, there’s still a perception that women should be working quietly in the background. To change that perception, we have to challenge it, and that means getting women front and center as leaders and voices.”
The women’s rights movement in the United States and elsewhere has demonstrated the power of leading by example. Women worldwide have championed movements and coordinated huge numbers of people to build support and push for change. In many ways, the women’s suffrage movement and similar movements demonstrated equality in action.
Simply having women in leadership roles can inspire children and young women to pursue their own goals and dreams. Role models and identifiable success also help to normalize equality and push back against outdated gender roles and other notions.
“A hundred years ago, politics was largely seen as an arena only for men,” Deanna Deveney notes. “Now, some of the most inspirational and accomplished politicians in the United States and the world are women. And that’s going to spur more women to get involved. Certainly, female civic leaders have inspired me.”
Deanna Deveney Offers Tips For Women To Champion Themselves
From the get-go, women have played a vital role in pursuing equality and breaking down stagnant gender roles. While organizations can step forward to provide resources and opportunities, ultimately, it’ll be up to women to seize the moment. Many women are doing just that, and Deanna Deveney has some tips based on her experience.
“It’s easy and often tempting to slide into the background,” notes Deanna Deveney, “but especially as a woman, you need to step forward and make yourself known. Volunteer for tough jobs, speak up and show confidence. We’ve come a long way, but you can help us further.”
It’s also smart to mentor women earlier in their careers. When organizations and leaders within organizations provide mentorship, it can pave the way for big things further down the road.