I have spent time in recent days reflecting on the women who came before me. The ones who took to the streets to secure the right to vote. The ones who persevered as the first female representative in their field. The ones who advocated for my right to open bank accounts, access credit, and have the same financial opportunities as men.
This Women’s History Month, the women still navigating the push for gender equity alongside intersectionalities such as race, sexual orientation, gender expression, and socio-economic status are especially present in my thoughts. We must acknowledge and support the validity of different experiences and barriers faced if we hope to remain on our collective path to progress.
As I reflect on how far women have come, it is important to keep an eye on the work yet to be done. Work that I am proud to do in my role with Junior Achievement of Greater Kansas City. To you, and every JA Champion, I say: JOIN ME. Stand with JAKC as we continue building on the legacy of the foundation-building women who have come before us, and the men who rallied by their sides as allies in the fight for gender equity.
Unfortunately, Kansas City still struggles to overcome troubling trends when it comes to business opportunities for all its citizens. A 2020 KC Business Journal article revealed:
“Kansas City underperforms in the minority and female entrepreneur category. A 2019 Lending Tree study that ranked the best and worst U.S. cities for minority-owned businesses analyzed 50 metro areas, and Kansas City ranked among the worst at No. 49. In a women-owned business study by Lending Tree, Kansas City ranked 23 out of 50.”
But because of YOU, there is hope for young women and girls who are just beginning their journey and taking steps towards their dreams. Research shows you have made an impact, with the help of your fellow JA Champions, providing support and creating opportunities for the next generation of women leaders and innovators:
- Female JA Alumni are just as likely as their male counterparts to have started or owned multiple businesses.
- 75% of women who had Junior Achievement as a student say their experiences played an important role in their professional development.
- 2 out of 3 women who participated in Junior Achievement programs as a student say it played an important role in shaping their career path
To secure choice-filled futures for ALL of Kansas City’s children, we must stand together to ensure every child has access to your encouragement and wisdom in addition to the resources they need to achieve their goals. Your support in this journey is so incredibly needed and appreciated. Together, we can build a brighter future for the young people in our community and create economic opportunity and mobility for all.