I cannot properly articulate the shock and disgust I had when I came across these ads last week: 

It felt as if the author was purposely obnoxious to make the ad seem not real. ‘Wait, is this an actual ad?’ A friend asked when I showed her these photos. Sadly, these ads are real, and in the early to mid 1900’s this is how women were viewed by society. Viewpoints were even worse for women of color: 

Racist Advert

Women were reduced to staying at home, raising the kids, cleaning and cooking. Hell, women had the same legal status as children, prohibited to own property or vote. So, when in 1995 when Hillary Clinton spoke at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, stating ‘Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights’, why was that moment so important, and why is it still relevant today?

I had the pleasure of hearing a lecture with Jacki Zehner at Columbia University last week. Jacki is a pioneer of women’s inclusion and philanthropy that had humble beginnings in Kelowna, BC, Canada. Battling through gender biases she was able to accomplish the seemingly impossible- becoming the first and youngest woman, to become partner at Goldman Sachs in 96’. This new role prompted her passion for women’s inclusion and leadership, and she began to question, where were all the other women leaders, not just in finance, but in heads of state? Jacki went on the become the President of Women Moving Millions Inc. The only community in the world of women funding women at the million plus level and also became the executive producer of the documentary 50/50: Rethinking the Past, Present, and Future of Women + Power. You can check out this brilliant documentary here.

So, why are humanitarian rights for women important to me?

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) posed in 1923 has still not been passed nearly 100 years later. For every $1 men earn in the US, women earn 77 cents. Women of color even less. Of 870 Nobel Prize winners, 48 have been women (5%).  Of 116 current elected heads of state, 21 are women (18%). I believe humans (not just women) should be treated as humans, regardless of your skin color or class. We all have hearts, minds and souls. I’m not only fighting for rights of women and girls currently, but I’m standing up, for my future daughter & son. In hopes that they will live in a generation that is 50/50. Will you join me on this journey?

Here are some ways you can get involved.

  1. Join VERVE. We are a philanthropic company that fundraises for women centric NGO’s.
  2. Join me at the Women’s March on January 21st, in Washington DC; It’s a peaceful protest to show our new administration that we are serious about women’s rights
  3. Join communities like; sharpen your career skills, meet a mentor or just be in an environment that encourages and facilitates career growth, specifically for women, in your local city

Thank you for taking the time to review this blog, and I hope you will join me on this human rights journey!

Article by Rita Brown

Rita Brown