Reflections from a CEO – International Women’s Day

As we begin the second week of Women’s History Month and celebrate International Women’s Day, SEO is proud to recognize the invaluable contributions of women to society, as well as encourage the study, observance, and celebration of the vital role of women in history.

When Women’s History Week was first formally acknowledged in 1980, President Jimmy Carter noted the following in his proclamation: “From the first settlers who came to our shores . . . men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often, the women were unsung, and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength, and love of the women who built America were as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well.”

The reality is that there is no aspect of society (science, government, business, art, culture, or any other) that has not been fundamentally shaped by women. And yet, far too many barriers remain, and we must work harder to break down the structures that continue limiting opportunities for women. For example, while it’s noteworthy that the number of women Fortune 500 CEOs hit an all-time high last year, it’s outrageous that this number is only at 41 (and appallingly, only two are Black women). These stats are among countless that illustrate America’s persistent gender inequity, which must be rectified if we are to realize SEO’s vision of a more equitable and inclusive society.

SEO is proud to be a leader in using our programs to create opportunities and open doors for women. This year, we will serve more than 2,400 women across all our programs, the highest number in SEO history. We are proud of the contributions that women make across all communities every day, including hundreds of SEO team members and thousands of SEO alumnae.

At the same time, we recognize SEO can be even better advocates for women in our workplace. All of us need to listen and learn so we can ensure SEO fully lives out our values.

Please take some time this month to learn about and celebrate women’s history, including sharing resources with one another so we can elevate stories of women and their innumerable contributions to the world.