International Women’s Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean we should stop supporting one another. Thursday night, I attended Rebecca Minkoff’s two-part Press for Progress talk moderated by Jill Manoff, editor-in-chief of Glossy. It was so empowering to be surrounded by such strong and intelligent women discussing important issues encompassing the fight for gender equality.
The first conversation featured Anna Auerbach of Werk, a startup that aims to champion flexibility in the workday for women. Today, the standard work day is rigid. We work eight hours (or more) five days a week and there’s little room for play or to even take care of personal responsibilities such as raising a family. Women often get the short end of the stick due to this structure. You have so many amazing women killin’ it at their jobs, but then you begin to lose them along the way because life. They leave their jobs to raise their children for some time, but eventually never come back to work. Shockingly, 30% of women opt out of their jobs because of this, but 70% would have stayed if they had a flexible schedule.
Anna believes that if we close the flexibility gap, we can close the gender gap. It’s going to take a lot to accomplish this, but organizations such as Werk are taking the right steps to bridge that. If we can normalize the flexible workday, more and more women won’t be afraid to continue living their best lives.
The second talk featured Va$htie, a music video director, designer, DJ, social media personality – a girl who does it all. She’s just 36, but she’s done so much in her life including directing videos for Kendrick Lamar and Justin Bieber, working at a tattoo shop when she was only 12, being the first woman to design a pair of Jordans, traveling the world to create short films and DJing a pre-Oscar party recently, just to name a few.
Aside all of that badassness, the work she’s done has changed societal norms for the better and she’s been an activist for women in today’s culture. She broke into the streetwear game early and is dominating an industry that’s made up of mostly males. Her success stems from the fact that she’s always stayed true to herself despite being so different from everyone else.
Over the years, streetwear has been popularized in main society – especially with all the luxury brand collaborations popping up such as Louis Vuitton x Supreme, Off-White x Jimmy Choo, etc. Everyone’s trying to be the next hypebeast (hypebae?). To Va$htie, it’s always been a representation of who you are and where you come from and now it’s all encompassing, even for women. She’s shown that it’s okay to show off your boyish side and dress the way you want if that’s what makes you feel good.
It’s so important to have these conversations to raise awareness about gender inequality. There’s still so much that needs to be done, but with inspiring women like this leading the way, we’re on our way to closing that gender gap.