Everyday is Women’s Day with ongoing progress and contributions in every facet of life.
The first Women’s Day was observed in New York City on February 28, 1909
There are days that I am gratefulto be a woman in this day and age, and then other days, I wonder if I had lived about 200 years back, how quickly I would have been burned at the stake for all to see. I was thinking about March 8th and how since 1909, we have been celebrating International Women’s Day, or rather I should say, not celebrating this most significant event.
As a women in corporate banking
This thought brought me back to my past life as a successful Corporate Banker over 25 years ago in the heart of downtown Miami, FL. It was the mid-80’s, when navy blue suits lined my closet, and leather briefcases, beepers, and big hair were signs of success.
I had moved quickly up the ranks, and I was a smart, hard-working, and attractive young lady determined to “hit the big times.” I wore this image well and walked the talk. I managed an International Division, and most of my clients were foreigners with money to burn.
I knew my job well, and looking back now, I realize that I was a bit naïve to the idea that everyone wasn’t as happy about my success as I was. I had never really encountered any chauvinistic arrogance or double-standards, and if I had, I was too innocent to notice them.
The “man in charge”
There was a particular male client I recall who insisted on speaking with the “man in charge” in my office one day. My staff was well-trained, professional, and screened all clients before directly sending them to me.
I can remember confidently walking out of my office, hand extended, a smile on my face, and with my well-trained introduction. The gentlemen quickly sized me up from top to bottom as though he had lost something along the way.
He never had the courtesy to mutually extend his own hand to greet me and rudely left my hand in midair. He proceeded to tell me that he only would conduct business with men after a brief apology.
Well, it was very obvious to all in attendance that I was far from that. Even in the most conservative navy blue suit, my legs were long, my 6-inch stilettos had me towering over him, and my extended red finger nails would have done serious damage to his face.
I must say, it took a lot for me to maintain my smile. I contained my shock internally, my mouth immediately felt like I had a huge cotton ball in it, and I quickly moved to plan B.
I discreetly curled my extended hand back alongside my body, acknowledged his request, and asked him to have a seat in the lobby until I could find a “man” to be of service. It did take a few moments to gather my thoughts and figure a plan.
I bring this story up to remind us that although this occurred over 25 years ago, we still have much more to go. Then you think about International Women’s Day and read that over 270 girls from Nigeria are still missing from the Boko Haram terrorist kidnapping of 2014, as reported by The Guardian.
These girls were students, daughters, sisters, and women who were getting educated to better their lives. Where are these girls? What has become of them?