‘Make It Count’ Event Commemorates Centennial of Women’s Right to Vote, Highlights Equity and Education
This year of 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of a remarkable shift in the women’s suffrage movement—the ratification of the 19th Amendment in 1920 which ensured a woman’s constitutional right to vote.
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
While the movement for equality continues, women leaders in business and STEM across the United States had much progress to celebrate during the centennial milestone. This momentous ‘Make It Count’ occasion celebrated women’s right to vote and provided space for professionals to discuss ways that spark the interest and confidence in women and girls to vote and run for office as well as to pursue STEM-oriented education and careers, leadership opportunities, and equality in business. Like-minded organizations shared best practices, strategies, and results to drive the advancement of female leaders and gender and diversity parity.
“Right now there is a lot of divisiveness in our country. We need to unify. We need to come together, as women,” said Bethany Hall-Long, Lieutenant Governor of Delaware and the Honorary National Chair of Million Women Mentors (MWM). The Lieutenant Governor served as the keynote speaker and empowered the group. She also shared her experience as a STEM Woman, herself.
Sheila Boyington, President/CEO of Learning Blade and the National States Chair of Million Women Mentors (MWM) served as the event moderator. STEM Women Panelists were: Valoria Armstrong, Vice President National Government and Regulatory Affairs of American Water; Deb Clary, Corporate Director of Humana; and Lynn Kier, Vice President Corporate Communications of Diebold Nixdorf. Breakout Moderators represented the following organizations: Women in Manufacturing (WIM), Science Olympiad, STEMconnector / Million Women Mentors (MWM), the Women in Engineering program at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin / Texas Girls Collaboration Project, and the Aspirations in Computing program of the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).
Panelist Lynn Kier spoke to equality in education, specifically, advising young women to “look at the STEM fields as well because it’s accessible and it’s not what you think it is. It’s not your father’s factory floor, it’s many cool, cool things to study.” Panelists also shared opinions on voting, industry trends on diversity and inclusion, strategies on elevating women to STEM careers, and ways to “make it count” this year.
In response to the panel, a plethora of ideas were provided by event participants in engaging breakout sessions, such as: connecting with schools as a starting point for civic engagement, being willing to mentor and showcase careers in STEM fields, getting girls to pursue STEM early through classes and career exposure in middle and high school, and providing externship or internship opportunities to students so that they can see STEM workplaces in action.
Edie Fraser of Women Business Collaborative (WBC) made a compelling Call to Action, stating “We’ve got to see voting, and political participation, in a movement like we’ve never seen before.” She then challenged attendees to think, “What are we doing—particularly in our own framework—to get our friends, our colleagues… how many people are you reaching?”
Much of this is made possible through the power of mentoring as we move more girls and women toward equality. This ‘Make It Count’ event rekindled the spark for STEM women to do just that—to look within their own frameworks and identify ways they could do more to ensure improvement of diversity, equity, inclusion, parity, and education.
To read even more highlights from this impactful event, visit https://conta.cc/31hYgJt.
To watch the entire virtual event, visit https://youtu.be/g2OG5Zjd7Ns.
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