I’m a feminist. This is a surprise to no one. I am very loud about it and I am very proud of it. I was raised to be independent, challenge society’s norms, speak up and to support other women.

As a woman business owner, it is important to me that women are properly represented throughout all industries, in all professions and within the community. Recently something happened that made me very disappointed in our community, ashamed really.

This past week, a list was released of young professionals who are seen as leaders in our community. Out of the 40 finalists on the list, 9 were women. 9. Let me say it again, 9. Did you know that 51% of Grand Rapids’ population is women? The list should, at the very least, mirror the population of the area. Looking at the list as it stands, one would assume the city is 70 to 80% men.

I know what you’re thinking, “Bode, it’s only an award – what is the big deal?”

According to the United Nations, “Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.”

So, yes something as silly as a professional award being given to 31 men and 9 women is important. It is an indicator of where we stand as a community as it relates to gender equality.

I stumbled upon the website genderavenger.com and this sentence jumped out at me, “If enough of us point out the absence of women to enough people in charge, change will happen, and a new norm will emerge.”

So, get upset, get loud and demand change. We are women and we sure as hell will roar.

 

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