Women’s Equality Day: A Conversation Across Generations, Identities and Cultures
- In celebrating Women’s Equality Day, Samsung explores the perceptions and experiences of gender equality in a recent panel discussion.
- Our Women in Samsung Electronics ERG held a powerful conversation with four employees that focused on women’s equality across generations, identities, and cultures.
- “Equality is moving forward with a sense of mission for a future that includes everyone and advancing shared values for a better world,” said Erica Mack, Field Sales Manager.
Samsung Electronics America is working to shape a better, more inclusive future for all, starting with our workplace. This Women’s Equality Day, our Women in Samsung Electronics (WISE) employee resource group, one of five ERGs within the organization, fostered a candid discussion around women’s equality across generations identities, and cultures.
Since 1971, Women’s Equality Day has taken place annually on August 26, and celebrates the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which provided women the right to vote. This was followed up in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act, further bridging the gap towards voting equality for ALL women.
This year, Samsung brought together four empowered female employees: Erica Mack, Field Sales Manager; Daniela Mercado, Senior Director, Mobile Media Marketing; Monica Jean Baptiste, Senior Manager, Sales Operations – Verizon; and Alana Gomez-Solis, Corporate Communications Intern to discuss how their individual experiences have shaped their perspective on equality.
Equality Starts Young
Monica kicked off the discussion by having each panelist break down what Women’s Equality Day means to them. In sharing her own personal story, she explained that her birthday and Women’s Equality Day fall on the same day – and starting from an early age, that’s compelled her to reflect on the immediate and important challenges women and girls face. In commenting on the significance of the holiday to both herself and her family, Daniela, who is Argentinian and fluent in both English and Spanish, added, “I hope to continue to light the torch. As a mother of a young lady, I continue to teach her to assert her fundamental rights on a daily basis.” Alana, our Generation Z panelist, shared that she greatly appreciated Daniela’s drive, as her parents have always supported her dreams of becoming a future female business leader.
Challenge Creates Change
Erica, who identifies as transgender, said, “That is what equality means to me. It is moving forward with a sense of mission for a future that includes everyone and advancing shared values for a better world.” Although society has undoubtedly made significant progress toward a better future, it has not been without challenge, and there remains a great deal of work to be done. She explained some of the obstacles she’s had to overcome and observations she’s made as a transgender woman, “I’ve always had an outgoing personality. But, based on my experience, extroversion has two different sets of standards. Women and men have to leverage completely distinct skillsets to get the same results.” Erica’s observation is in line with situations Daniela has encountered, and she shared how she continuously works to defy stereotypes to be viewed as a strong, respected female leader.
Leading by Example
Throughout the past century, brave women risked everything to take a stand, advocating for themselves and future generations to come. It is essential to recognize the hard-fought history and learn from those with varied experiences and perspectives. Alana provided insight into her Samsung intern experience. “I’ve had the opportunity to seek advice and gain knowledge from phenomenal female leaders at the company. While it’s early in my career, I’ve learned so much and hope to implement some of the traits these women exemplify in my everyday life. And I want to continue to inspire the next generation of girls just as these leaders have inspired me.” Daniela shared how this idea of learning from such successful leaders empowered her to build confidence and resiliency throughout her career. “The industries I’ve worked in have mainly been male-dominated. I’ve made a concerted effort to look for strong women leaders in higher positions and learned how they’ve navigated their career journey.”
Advocates and Allies for Equity
As women work to redefine the contours of our gendered landscape, advocates and allies are integral in the fight to create lasting change. The panel discussed how both advocacy groups and male allies are essential to the movement. Monica noted that her father and husband have been her most consistent cheerleaders throughout her life and career paths. She explained, “If you go back to the definition of feminism, it’s not that women should have better or enhanced rights, but equal rights. Including men in the conversation grows the movement and helps us get to our goals quicker if we are all in this together.” Erica built on this point by naming some impactful justice and equality organizations she has worked with, including the Human Rights Campaign, which ranked Samsung Electronics America a 100 for Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality (’21) on their Corporate Equality Index.
Samsung is proud to shine a spotlight on the women within our organization who are defying barriers, creating new models of leadership, and sharing their knowledge and experiences for others to follow in their footsteps – and blaze their own trails. We will continue to amplify the diverse voices of our prominent leaders and next generation talent so that they can bring their unique stories to the forefront and continue the all-important conversation around equality.