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How Women Are Pushing Gender Equality Forward During a Global Pandemic

Although women are constantly facing challenges in the workforce, they’re discovering new ways to support each other during a time of crisis.

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Women have made outstanding strides throughout history, and their accomplishments continuously prove there are truly no limits. Despite millions of women leaving the workforce due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many have continued to find new ways to adapt and succeed. However, it hasn’t been easy.

During our last session of The Next Normal this year, we discussed how we can continue to push gender equality forward. Aundrea Cline-Thomas, reporter at WCBS, CBS New York, Kathleen Entwistle, private wealth advisor at Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, Cate Luzio, founder and CEO of Luminary, and Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient, each offered their insight on how to best empower women during a time of crisis.

Each speaker reflected on how difficult 2020 has been for them, personally. However, some good things have come out of it. “This is the year I found my voice and really used it,” said Cline-Thomas in regards to her newfound experience with field reporting during the pandemic. “It made me realize I was very much in my lane, very much exercising my passions, and I had a platform to tell the stories I’ve always wanted to for so long, and now the audience was ready to listen.”

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According to Entwistle, sticking together has made a difference in dealing with these hardships. “I think that’s what this is all about,” she said. “It’s sort of supporting each other and helping each other out and making a mindful decision to support somebody because you believe in them, because they’re a female, because they’re looking to advance or whatever the reason is, I mean, I think that’s what we do.”

Besides COVID-19, other phenomenons—including the Black Lives Matter movement—made history this year. It affected society as a whole in more ways than one. “I think journalism was tested in new ways,” Cline-Thomas said about reporting the truth during the racial justice movement. She also elaborated on how the protests and events sparked from George Floyd’s devastating murder affected her personally as a Black woman in America. “In terms of my experience, I always said that I was mindful of my mental health,” she said. “But after this year, I was fiercely protective of my mental health.”

As a result, Cline-Thomas sought help, proving there’s strength in being honest and vulnerable. “I had to increase my therapy starting in June, when everything just started to explode because you don’t often report on stories that you’re experiencing at the same time,” she said.

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How can we as a society improve the workforce for women? It all starts with keeping the conversation going. “I think sharing stories is important,” Zalis said. “The more you know and the more you share…I think that’s incredibly important.”

In terms of the future, there is plenty of work to get done, but there is also hope. “I think our conversation should be, ‘What more can we do?'” Cline-Thomas said. “Because we should constantly be setting the bar higher and higher for ourselves.”

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