As I take a moment to reflect on the passage of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, it is difficult not to be aware of the monumental changes she brought about especially in our business and especially to the women in our business (or girls as we were referred to back then).
I started in this business fresh out of college (where you were judged and graded on your talent and ability) but it was the Mad Men era so of course I was paid less than the men with whom I was equal. After all, in the job interview I was asked my age, if I was married, did he work, did I have children, did I plan to, and when. There was a time when I was due for a deserved raise and was told that because I was married and my husband working, my raise would be better served if it went to a fellow employee whose wife had just had a third child and needed it more. What makes all this so sad is that none of this troubled me or was unexpected because women who worked in business were the minority. Men were in control back then. And that was just the way it was.
I have worked steadily in this business since that time and during those years I saw our own Mr. Fern (then at Fern Hanaway) elevate the first woman in Rhode Island to the position of Account Executive. Skip to today, the post RBG era, and women have made tremendous strides forward. While we still have a ways to go, I’m surprised to see that some women have no idea what it is like not to be equal, not to be judged and to be rewarded for talent and ability first.
Yes, I have lived through much change in this business. It has been an incredible journey that I could never have imagined if not for the remarkable and brave women (the Notorious RBG especially and the others) who made it happen…because in so doing positive change happened for me, and today it happens routinely for you, for the women, the girls, the daughters, the granddaughters, the nieces and so on and so forth…