Nicole Vorrasi Bates
Welcome to Shattering Glass!
Updated: Mar 13, 2021
March 8, 2021 - Welcome to the official launch of Shattering Glass, a nonprofit organization devoted to combatting gender discrimination and fighting for gender equality and inclusion! Our launch today, on International Women’s Day, is no coincidence.
Today is a day to promote and celebrate the achievements of women; to raise awareness of gender bias and discrimination; to lend our support by fundraising for women-focused charities; and a day that serves as a call to action to end gender inequality.
Looking back, in many ways, 2020 was a great year for women – glass was shattering everywhere, particularly in male-dominated fields.
Most notably, Kamala Harris was the first woman elected as Vice President and President of the U.S. Senate. She also is the first African American and Asian American Vice President. Countless women across the country, including me, shed tears on January 20, 2021 as we watched Vice President Harris get sworn in. I am so very grateful that my daughter will not remember a world where a woman could not hold that position. Now nine, she is one of the main reasons I am here today writing this and launching Shattering Glass.
In the sports world, Kim Ng was named the General Manager of the Miami Marlins and became the first female manager in the history of Major League Baseball. Closer to the diamond, Alyssa Nakken became the first full-time MLB coach, and the first on-field female coach in the history of MLB. In basketball, Becky Hammon, the first full-time assistant coach in the NBA, of the SanAntonio Spurs made history when she served as the first female acting head coach in a game. Just last month, Sarah Thomas, the first female full-time referee in the NFL, became the first woman to officiate the Super Bowl, which notably included 2 women coaches from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The best of all may be the story of Renee Montgomery, the WNBA player, who left basketball to pursue social justice reform, advocating for what she believes in, and just this past week she purchased the team from an owner who did not support her efforts.
In science, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, the first time the honor went to two women for their work in science. Katalin Karikó may have the most significant accomplishment all – despite years of rejection, demotion and job losses, she persevered and forged forward with her research on mRNA and its ability to fight disease, which is the basis of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer.
Most importantly, there are the countless faceless women who have been the true heroes of this pandemic. Healthcare workers, first responders, mothers. You can find out more about all of these amazing women here.
Today, we celebrate all of you!
Despite all of the progress and amazing achievements, there is much work to be done.
Looking forward, and if we stay on our current path, according to the World Economic Forum, none of us – nor even our children – will see gender parity in our lifetimes because, as of the end of 2019, it was estimated that gender parity would not be attained for 99.5 years!
The pandemic is only making that worse, as women, particularly women of color, have been hit way harder than men. According to the Center for American Progress, women have lost 1 million jobs more than men. In December 2020, there was a net job loss of 140,000, all of those held by women.
With respect to compensation, in 2019, women, on average, earned 82% of wages paid to men, with Black and Latin American women earning 63% and 55%, respectively.
The disparate pay between men and women is even greater as the level of education increases.
Take the legal profession -- according to the Census Bureau, “at mid-career, when earnings peak, the top 10 percent of female lawyers earn more than $300,000 a year, while the top 10 percent of male lawyers earn more than $500,000.”
And women have less advancement opportunities than their male counterparts. For example, in 2020, women held a mere 7.4% (or 37) of the CEO positions at Fortune 500 companies, and none of the women were Black.
Tragically, people are not investing in women – according to the Harvard Business Review, in 2020, only 2.3% of venture capital funding went to women-led startup companies, a decrease from the pathetic, record-breaking 2.8% in 2019.
Kim Ng’s story of rising through the ranks highlights many of the issues and challenges women face. The looks, the hostility, the assumption that because she was a woman, her male subordinates had to be running the show, the fact that despite her talents and qualifications, she interviewed 10 times for a General Manager position and was passed over every time. The list goes on.
These types of things happen to woman everywhere, including me. I have had similar experiences, although there are restrictions imposed upon what I can say about my story (those restrictions are the subject of my upcoming blog, so check back soon). Nonetheless, these experiences have given me an insider’s perspective on what needs to be done and how to do it and the passion to make sure that others do not endure the same.
When Ruth Bader Ginsburg died, we lost our trailblazer and perpetual advocate for equality. That next day, as my daughter and I stood in front of the Supreme Court paying our respects, I was called to action – feeling compelled to carry on the fight in honor of the Notorious RBG.
So starting today, Shattering Glass will be fighting for gender equality – Equal Opportunities, Equal Pay, Access to Affordable Childcare – and combatting the discriminatory practices in the workplace, such as mandatory arbitration agreements and nondisclosure agreements, that are keeping equality at bay.
And while I may not be able to share my story, I carry it with me and use it to fight, which Shattering Glass intends to do until we obtain equality and ensure that our children and grandchildren do not have to endure this discrimination. 99.5 years is unacceptable!
Today, we #ChooseToChallenge. Join us in the fight by signing up for updates, following us on social media, or donating.
Nicole Vorrasi Bates