International Women’s Day was last week, and I am still reflecting on my own life and journey as a woman, a single mother, a sister, a friend, a daughter, and a professional. Women have made much progress and many barriers have been overcome. As a working mother, I know firsthand how difficult it is to navigate a home, children, and a career. I've taught my daughters to be bold in pursuing their dreams, and that anything is possible when they work hard and focus on their future.
On International Women’s Day, I celebrated the accomplishments of the women who work with me in the WV Secretary of State’s Office. In comparison to national averages, the WVSOS Office leads the way in empowering women.
According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, only 42 percent of managers in the U.S. workforce are women, despite women making up about half of the overall workforce. Of those in management positions, women earned 71 cents for every dollar earned by male managers.
But in the WVSOS management, we currently have five women working in leadership roles: Elections Director, Chief Financial Officer, Director of Investigations, Director of Administrative Law, and Front Office Manager. With the majority of our management staff being women, I feel comfortable bringing every aspect of who I am to work every day. My gender, my culture, my southern twang (that is known to slip out at times), all of the qualities that make me Delilah are supported by my colleagues.
International Women’s Day helps raise awareness of the persistent gender inequality that exists in many parts of the world. It’s no secret that women are more likely to be paid less than men for the same job, and face more barriers when it comes to career advancement. Beyond the workforce, women face substantial and numerous challenges including unequal access to education and healthcare, as well as extreme violence and discrimination in some countries.
The entire month of March provides an opportunity for individuals, communities, and organizations to come together to celebrate women’s achievements and to call for action to achieve gender equality. This is an opportunity to remember that gender equality is not just a women’s issue; it is a human rights issue that affects everyone. It is only by working together, men and women alike, that we can create a world where women are truly equal and free to reach their full potential.
So International Women’s Day was an important occasion to recognize the progress made towards gender equality, to celebrate women’s achievements, and to call for further action. Let this month be a reminder to all that we must continue to work towards creating a world where women can thrive, and where their contributions are valued and respected. By choosing to challenge gender bias and inequality, we can build a better future for everyone.
Delilah Barker is the Chief Financial Officer for the WV Secretary of State's Office. She is a single mother and a resident of Logan County.