From Kerry Hecht, Founder and CEO of Echo Market Research:
I’ve been thinking a lot about what to write in response to “International Women’s Day.” This is something that is harder than it seems like it should be. As a cisgender white woman, I know there is a lot of privilege in my background and to me “Women’s Day” should be representative of something that is inclusive of any and all marginalized groups. So, before we start with how lucky I am, let’s have a quick look at things:
- Global estimates published by WHO indicate that about 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. African American females experience intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females.
- Trans women suffer from violence, often fatal, at a shockingly high rate, do not have access to appropriate health care, or housing and are the target of hate-filled discriminatory laws.
- Women make up more than two-thirds of the world’s 796 million illiterate people.
- Research indicates that when more income is put into the hands of women, child nutrition, health, and education improve.
Now, the warm-fuzzy part:
Market Research has been my lifelong career and within that, I can’t really think of a time that my gender has felt like a deterrent. In fact, I’ve always felt like this industry was built by women and not just in qualitative research. I mean – we all know of Alberta Burke, right?
Over the course of 30 years, I’ve worked with and been mentored by many brilliant women – pioneers and unsung heroes, alike. I’ve seen talented women-run departments, head-up companies, and work in what is assumed to be male-dominated spaces like coding. It’s because of them that I’ve felt like there are few boundaries and no glass ceilings, for women, in this industry.
Sure, I’ve been the woman (who hasn’t?) whose ideas are stolen or dismissed until they were repeated by a man but that’s expected, no? (!!)
I raise my glass (of tea) to all those (PEOPLE) that have come before me:
all the change agents,
all the support networks,
all the folks who have moved aside to let someone else speak or lead,
all the people fighting to be heard and seen.
I feel hopeful that our brightest and most inclusive days are ahead.