Today is tough. Yesterday, a 19 year old gunman entered a high school in Parkland, FL, shot dead 17 people and injured at least 14 others. I cannot fathom the pain and anguish felt by the families who have lost loved ones or the trauma and fear felt by the students, teachers, and staff who witnessed the carnage. At first, like every other time I’ve seen this happen, I felt helpless. But today, I woke up angry. And more importantly, I woke up determined.
If the past year has taught me anything, it’s that when women band together, they get stuff done. Below are just some of the many accomplishments women had in 2017:
- The day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, an estimated 3.2 to 5.2 million people in 600 cities nationwide take part in the Women’s March, making it likely the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.
- Susan Fowler, a former engineer at Uber, publishes a 3,000-word blog post exposing the hostile culture for women at the ride-share company; four months later, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns and the company announces that it has fired 20 employees as part of a wide-ranging harassment investigation.
- Three women enlisted as the Marines’ first female infantrymen.
- Giselle Burgess, a homeless single mother of five, starts Girl Scout Troop 6000 for girls living in NYC shelters.
- The U.S. women’s national hockey team announces plans to boycott the world championship after its members are unable to secure fair pay from USA Hockey; within weeks, the team negotiates a raise and wins its eighth world title.
- After a New York Times story written by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey reveals decades of sexual harassment by Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, the board of his company fires him. The scandal ultimately prompts a powerful outpouring of women revealing instances of sexual harassment and assault, using the hashtag #metoo.
What these victories tell me is that we are not powerless. When we channel our collective energy toward shared goals, we achieve them. So, I ask women to join together in demanding change so that tragedies like yesterday’s shooting do not happen again. Learn more about organizations like Women Against Gun Violence and Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America and find ways to participate. No matter where you fall on the political spectrum, I think we can all agree that something needs to change. Let’s unleash our girl power and be the leaders of this incredibly important movement.