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  • Writer's pictureRachel Holly

Paying Tribute in order to Pay it Forward

With March being Women’s History Month, AvantGarde appreciates this opportunity to pay tribute to awe-inspiring women. The U.S. has designated this month for the recognition of women’s accomplishments because for far too long in history, women’s contributions were overlooked, even as they worked side by side with men to build this country. Here at AvantGarde – a woman-owned company with a majority female workforce – we recognize the historical accomplishments of all women, celebrate the women who are making incredible advances today, and invest in the next generation of empowered women.

In the U.S. alone, our history is rich with accomplishments that paved the way for women today. Notable women’s rights advocates from early America include Abigail Adams, an early activist for women’s educational equality and women’s property rights; Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony, suffragists who fought for women’s equality more than 70 years before women finally secured the right to vote; and Sojourner Truth, an escaped enslaved woman who fought for African American and women’s rights for nearly 60 years of her life. The 20th Century then introduced us to many “firsts” for women. Just a few prominent examples include Edith Wharton as the first woman to win a Pulitzer in 1921; Amelia Earhart as the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928; and Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court Justice in 1981.

We honor these women and many more who broke barriers, shifting perceptions and creating more opportunities for other women as a result. Thanks to the women before us fighting for equal access to education and career development, a thriving management consulting firm like AvantGarde where women outnumber men 3-to-1 doesn’t even raise any eyebrows.

Women of the 21st Century have continued to push boundaries, defy conventions, and even smash glass ceilings. Countries around the world have elected their first female leaders in the past 20 years. Since 2001, 52 women have won the Nobel prize, much more than the total number of women (30) who won it during the prior 100 years. And today there are 41 women CEOs in the Fortune 500, more than ever before.

While this progress is encouraging, clearly there is still much work to be done. For example, the previously mentioned 41 women CEOs only represent 8.2% of Fortune 500 CEOs. In American leadership, only 27% of seats in the U.S. Congress are held by women. And women in the U.S. on average only earn about 82% for every dollar earned by men, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While not many of us will become political leaders or CEOs or Nobel prize winners, women today can still help pay it forward to the next generation of women in several ways. Women can mentor younger women and provide guidance and support as they navigate their careers and personal lives. We can also lead by example as role models in our everyday lives, demonstrating resilience, determination, and the importance of self-care and work-life balance. And all of us – women and men – can use our platforms and voices to advocate for polices and practices that promote gender equality and women’s rights.

AvantGarde has taken these steps to pay it forward and pave the way by supporting the Girls of Legacy mentoring and scholarship program, an initiative by CEO Rebecca Contreras. We invite you to learn more about how 10 young women from inner city schools have already benefited from the program and the 2023 Girls of Legacy event being held to honor the recipients.

Women today – and by extension, families and businesses – have benefited greatly from a long list of women-led accomplishments, creating tangible impacts in our everyday lives. By paying tribute to women’s accomplishments and the work still underway, we acknowledge the enormous strides in gender equality as well as the ongoing efforts that we can all contribute to and ensure that future generations can achieve their full potential.

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