On Sunday, like many of you, I was glued to the television, watching endless interviews on a range of channels about the January 21st women’s marches. More than once I heard commentators ask, “What’s next?” and “How will this groundswell be translated into action?” and “How will women come together to effect change?”
The weekend of January 20 and 21, 2017 is one that will be remembered for a long time. First, the swearing in of a new U.S. President on Friday and then the many voices of American women (but also around the world!) on Saturday.
I am not going to focus on whether these women’s marches were pro or anti our new President. That’s not my point. I am going to focus on the need hundreds of thousands of women saw to make sure that our shared future includes the voices of women – not just on “women’s issues” but more broadly. And that’s a good thing. All of us have the responsibility to share our views and speak up for what we believe.
That made me think of my own organization, The Junior League. The Junior League was founded in 1901 to give women the opportunity to come together, to learn about community issues, and to use their leadership skills to improve lives. Throughout our history we have tackled issues – often before they were “popular” – like domestic violence, juvenile justice, perinatal depression, human trafficking, the list goes on and on. Whether the issue is global or domestic, however, we work together as League members to create change at the grassroots level.
Throughout our history, we have also given women the opportunity to gain leadership skills that have often translated into remarkable civic careers – from Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both the House of Representatives and Senate, to Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court. Today, Junior League women lead in our Congress, in the military and in state and local government. In the nonprofit sector we serve as Presidents, CEOs and Executive Directors. And our members can be found in all walks of corporate life, from small companies to giant corporations.
As an organization, we see the need for respectful, bipartisan, nonpartisan conversations and the need to create environments where differing views are respected – encouraged – and shared outcomes created. The Junior League reaches out to all women who value our Mission. We are committed to inclusive environments of diverse individuals, organizations and communities.
So, here’s my answer for women looking for “what’s next” after Saturday? Join The Junior League.