At SPECTRUM: I’m Speaking, Women Leaders Talked About Challenges During COVID (and Beyond), Gender Equity, and Being Bosses
The pandemic hasn’t stopped women from continuing to take the lead as bosses across all sectors—from boardrooms to the White House—while juggling all the things that come with being a powerhouse in today’s society. At the same time, however, women lost 64 million jobs and $800 billion in earnings due to the pandemic.
At SPECTRUM: I’m Speaking during a session called “Navigating Boss Status and Our New Normal,” women leaders talked about the challenges they have faced during COVID (and beyond), gender equity in the economy, and being bosses themselves. The event took place on Equal Pay Day, March 24, 2021, to highlight the disparities women, especially women of color, face when it comes to the amount of money they make relative to their male, particularly white male, counterparts. (Watch the full session below!)
“White women would have to work all the way until today (from the beginning of last year) to earn the same, generally speaking, that men earned last year. For Black women, it’s August 13. For Latinas, it’s October 29. And for Native American and Indigenous women, it’s October 1,” Leticia Peguero said during the session.
Peguero, the Vice President of Programs at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, was joined by Christine St. Vil, founder of the Social Scoop, and Allie Burns, CEO of Village Capital. The panelists shared some of their personal experiences as women in the business world.
“A big part of my journey is when I left corporate because there was discrimination there and I was just not in a very good environment,” St. Vil said. “So becoming a stay-at-home-mom to three kids under three at the time was definitely a self-discovery moment for me. Part of my journey was being able to figure out who I was and what I wanted to do. I started my blog in 2012, and that’s how I really got into social media, marketing, and being able to tell my story and help other women do the same.”
Burns shared a sentiment that the other two women on the panel related to: lacking self-confidence: “In contemplating what my greatest challenge was, I think it was doubting myself. When I came over to Village Capital, I took on the role of COO. I’d never been a COO before. I had been in communications, I knew how to lead teams, but I needed some time to process. I went through the same testing of myself and my confidence in myself when I was asked to take on the CEO role. That’s something that we all wrestle with — self-confidence to make a leap — that men usually don’t spend a second thinking about.”
Peguero hit home the point that women in leadership are paving the way for more women to take on those roles and lend their unique strengths and perspectives to their organizations.
“It’s really easy, especially in the west, for us to get caught in ‘this work is about me. It needs to have my name on it.’ It’s the driving force of capitalism,” Peguero said. “But this work is also about all the women. I’ve been thinking a lot about grandmother’s lately. This work is about all the women in my life, including my grandmother who’s still alive and is 95, who did not have the privilege that I do today. So how do we engage and create the causes and conditions that allow me to be in this position — for now — and lead in that way, understanding that the baton will be passed? If I don’t share the resources and I don’t engage in open conversation, communication, and transparency, then the baton might not be passed to the next generation.”