We want a world where people are judged first on their strengths and contributions – not one where gender is assigned before making a decision about what someone is capable of achieving.
We want a world that recognizes it would be a better place if 50% of the population wasn’t held back from maximizing their full potential.
We want a world where women and men work together.
How did we get here? In our many discussions about what this community should be we narrowed it down to two broad themes focused on the workplace: working with women to help them survive in a male-dominated workplace or empowering women and men to work together to bring about gender-equality in the workplace.
We all agreed that the latter is much more appealing than the former. While working with women and men may be more daunting to achieve, bringing about change is an energizing and inspirational charge.
Our mission is simple: Advancing the Women’s Leadership Movement.
Some of you may be reading this and thinking “I’m not a leader – this site isn’t for me.” We believe that everyone has leadership qualities. Is everyone a Rosa Parks or Sheryl Sandberg? No, but in your own way you are all leaders. Still don’t believe us? Read Lollipop Moments: How to Make Leadership an Everyday Act.
Back to our story: We began offering training specifically to women to advance their leadership skills back in 2005. Since then we have worked with well over 75,000 women. But when we look back most of our content has been how to help women get by in a man’s world.
Enter Meredith Veit, our forward-thinking intern from George Washington University, who worked on a project with us during the summer of 2014. Meredith was charged with making a case for introducing a women’s leadership certificate into our current product offerings. We expected her to stick with our current model (of helping women survive) but what she proposed was a certificate based on work-related gender issues with a focus on overall leadership techniques that benefit both women and men. Those of us in the presentation exclaimed “of course that makes perfect sense – why wouldn’t we do it?” Then the reality set in – this was a very different path – were we ready for it? The answer was “No, not at this time, but we sure hope we are soon.” In the last year the “movement” has really picked up – think of Emma Watson’s speech to the United Nations about HeForShe or the Women on 20s campaign to name just a few. If you asked us this question now we would say “Yes, we are ready to contribute to this movement.”
Our goal with Progressive Women’s Leadership is to be a resource center that is empowering, forward-looking and supportive of both women and men who want to change the way women are viewed in the workplace (and beyond). In this workplace we lay peace to the gender wars and concentrate on how men and women work together as equals who earn the same opportunities to advance, equal pay for equal work and overall respect. We are fortunate to have many different perspectives contributing this mission. Our team is made up of both women and men. Add to that a mix of ages, backgrounds, geography, life paths and experiences.
We cannot fulfill our mission of “Advancing the Women’s Leadership Movement” without you – we want to engage and inspire you to join us. You can do this by giving us feedback on both our current content and what you’d like us to offer in future, and by sharing our site with your friends and family through social media (or any way you see fit).
The original women’s movement started with just a few women and it grew from there – we are optimistic and determined to follow the same path but we cannot do it alone, so we invite you to join our movement.