As some of you know, last week I kicked off the New Year skiing in Jackson Hole, WY. One morning while the kids were at ski school, I went to breakfast at a quaint place in town. On one wall of the restaurant was a picture of five women in Petticoats from the 1900’s. I asked my sister-in-law, a local of the area, about the significance of the picture. As it turns out, Wyoming made a name for itself as the “Equality State” in 1920 when an all-women council was elected in Jackson, including a female mayor. As a matter of fact, unlike many other states during this time, Women in Wyoming were allowed to vote and purchase property since 1869.
According to an article written in 2014 in the Jackson Hole Daily News & Guide, this council of women were highly effective. When they took office they had only $200 in the town’s bank account and through collections of outstanding debts ended their term with over $2,000. During their time in office, they used a practical no-nonsense approach to investing back in the city that “cleaned up” where the men had been too casual about the environment around them.
Today in the United States, women hold 105, or 19.6%, of the 535 seats in the 114th U.S. Congress – 20, or 20.0%, of the 100 seats in the Senate and 85, or 19.5%, of the 435 seats in the House of Representatives. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who was the first woman Speaker of the House, is now minority leader. 75 women hold statewide elective executive offices across the country; women hold 24.0% of the 312 available positions.
Women are still minorities in leadership both in elected positions as well as the workplace but that’s continuing to change. According to an article written in Time Magazine, women now outnumber men in earning bachelor degrees and more and more organizations are developing women’s networks in their organizations to support women’s development.
Although there is still work to do, these are encouraging statistics. Here is to women’s empowerment in the workplace!