A study from Pew Research Centre discovered there was an astronomical contrast between women and men on whether or not sexism still existed. 63% of women felt sexism is still an issues because women continue to face obstacles due to gender. Only 41% of men in the study felt sexism is prevalent and preventative in the progression of women.
Many of us have experienced the subtle and not so subtle situations where we are being treated differently because we are women. We either brush it off and walk away, give face or address the matter in an intolerable manner. However, if the issue of sexism isn’t spoken about in efforts of changing how people respond, women will remain in the same place. Pushing through barriers to thrive in a world that is dominated by men!
Thursday, I had the pleasure of attending a panel discussion moderated by Rhonesha Byng, the founder and CEO of Her Agenda. Her Agenda is a digital platform that aids in helping millennial women find the connection between their ambition and achieving their goals. She provides encouragement and information on how to get started and grow to the next level of your career. With the help of a few high-powered women from different industries, Rhonesha decided it was time to deal with the controversial issues surrounding sexism and success. Highlighting its impact on women and their ability to succeed as a result of it.
Midwin Charles is the Founder of Midwin Charles & Associates LLC law firm and an Essence Magazine Contributor. Her expertise on law, politics and pop culture are utilized on various television shows.
Stephanie Harris is the creator, Founder and CEO of Maven Cocktails a premium wine-infused vodka cocktail. The cocktails are sold in single serve bottles with re-closable tops. Maven Cocktails are sold in several states will begin to ship internationally in May of 2017.
Roxanne Shante is a Hip Hop musician born and raise in Queens New York in Queensbridge Projects. Roxanne is well-known from the Roxanne Wars and was a member of the Juice Crew.
Carrie Sheffield is the Founder and CEO of BOLD Media a digital news and cultural platform for millennial thinkers and creators. Carrie is the co-host along side Clay Aiken on BOLD TV. Carrie is a Salon political analyst and senior contributor for Opportunity Lives.
Rhonesha began the conversation by asking the panelist the following question:
When did you realize sexism existed?
Carrie Sheffield responded: ” I was raised mormon and very old school. So I experienced subtle situations that made me realize sexism existed. I was taught at an early age that my husband was the boss.”
Midwin Charles responded: “My name has allowed me to realize that sexism still existed. When people see my name they automatically assume that I am a male. I remember going to interviews and being told the position was intended for a male. There is a preference for men during the interview process despite my experience and background.”
Roxanne Shante responded: “Being a hiphop artist and wanting to rap in an industry predominately made up of men was difficult. Many times I would attend an event to rap and they would look pass me and hand the mic to a man. However, I really realized during an event held by Jack the Rapper (World Supremacy) Curtis Blow gave me the lowest score possible so I can lose because there was no way people would respect music if the best rapper of the Hip Hop was a girl.”
Stephanie Harris responded: “I didn’t really have an idea that sexism existed because my mom was the primary bread winner and my Dad cooked and shopped and did those things for us. She was this role model and believed what you put in you get back so my sister thought we could do anything. However, when I got into the wine and spirits industry … I realized that I needed a man in the room in order for me solidify funds for my business. Being in this business has made me realize that this is truly a mans world.”
It was interesting to hear each of the panelists personal experiences with sexism and how it shaped their lives and their current careers. It was definitely a moment for me as women to reflect and think about my own experiences with sexism. Shortly after, the gloves came off and the conversation quickly heat up when the 2017 election of Trump and Hilary became the topic. It was evident the ladies were very passionate about the circumstances and addressed the blatant sexism that was displayed throughout the months leading up to the election.
The panelist gave promising advice for the women sitting in the audience on how to deal with sexism in the work place regardless of gender. Because let’s face it, other women can be involved in creating environments that display sexism towards their female colleagues. Sexism isn’t just a male to female exchange.
With all the encouragement and advice happening the ladies didn’t get to address all the questions planned. So I have high hopes of there being a part 2.
Visit Her Agenda’s Facebook page and check out the video for the full panel discussion.