Mistakes to Avoid While Celebrating Women’s History Month or Discussing “Women’s Issues”

Michelle Kim
Mar 20, 2018 · 3 min read

Women’s accomplishments, history, and continuing struggles should be honored and highlighted every day. And we won’t complain about having a month specifically dedicated to bringing these issues to the forefront.

Here are top 3 common mistakes to avoid this month (but really, all year round, please):

Mistake #1: Not knowing the full history of women’s rights movement

1920 marks the year the 19th Amendment passed, granting women the right to vote. But… did you know that Native American, Black, and Asian women couldn’t exercise their right to vote until much later? Here’s a quick summary of the history of voting rights you can check out to ensure you know your stuff.

Mistake #2: Not being intersectional when discussing women’s issues

It’s critical to recognize that even within the women’s community, our experiences vary based on our other identities, such as race and ethnicity, ability/disability, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, class, and more. Deepen your understanding of intersectional feminism to build solidarity across differences.

Learn how to apply intersectionality by watching this amazing 4-minute video!

Oh and… don’t forget to look at the “gender wage gap” through an intersectional lens:

See? Notice how even within the women’s community, all of our experiences are different.

“…even within the women’s community, all of our experiences are different”

Mistake #3: Excluding trans women and gender non-conforming people

Trans women are women. Not sure how else to say this. Also, remember that womanhood is not defined by somebody’s physical being — ensure you are using inclusive language and creating spaces where womanhood is celebrated vs. cis-genderhood (yes, it’s time to retire your “pussy hats”).

“Womanhood is not defined by somebody’s physical being”

Bonus Tip: Glass Ceiling vs. Sticky Floor

We talk a lot about breaking the “Glass Ceiling” but have you heard about the “Sticky Floor?” The term “Sticky Floor” is used to describe the difficult-to-break pattern that keeps a certain group of people at the bottom of the job scale, such as service job workers and clerical support staff. The term “glass ceiling” is used to describe the invisible barrier which blocks the advancement of women or people of color beyond a certain point. Both the Glass Ceiling and Sticky Floor hinder equity in the workplace and society! #WeNeedaNewHouse

Share your feedback, questions, and comments below and don’t forget to share with your network!


Want more tips on how to have more nuanced and critical discussions around diversity and inclusion?

  1. Come to our upcoming workshop series at San Francisco General Assembly!
  2. Join Awaken’s Inclusive Leaders Circle to receive relevant updates, new blog alerts, and invitations to listing-only events right in your inbox!
  3. Host an Intersectional Allyship Workshop at your organization: Contact us via our website: www.visionawaken.com
  4. Or follow us on Medium for more educational posts!

About Michelle Kim

Michelle is an entrepreneur, activist, speaker, and a coach passionate about empowering individuals and organizations to create positive change. She is the Co-founder and CEO of Awaken and Owner of Michelle Kim Consulting.

Awaken Blog

Creating compassionate space for uncomfortable conversations

Michelle Kim

Written by

Co-Founder & CEO @ Awaken | Activist | Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advocate | Keynote Speaker | Writer www.visionawaken.com

Awaken Blog

Creating compassionate space for uncomfortable conversations

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