A Letter To My Daughter On International Women’s Day

By Dan Black

EY Global Recruiting Leader & Americas Recruiting Leader

Lucy Jane,

You and I have always had a special bond, a connection that has been palpable since I first laid eyes on you 10 years ago. From the earliest of days it was clear to me that you were an optimist and a dreamer, always looking to find the best in people and ever-hopeful regardless of what life throws your way. I’ve spent my whole life with the same “glass half full” philosophy, and it has been an amazing gift to share this common bond with someone I love so much.

Since I’ve always taught you to tell the truth, I have a confession of my own to make. As I look to the future and what the world might hold for you, I sometimes feel my optimism starting to fade. The world we live in today poses a wide array of challenges, and as your father it’s hard not to worry about what struggles and obstacles you may face. In addition to the ups and downs that both you and your brother will experience, I also think about the additional challenges you will be up against as a woman.

It’s estimated it will take 217 years to achieve gender parity in the workplace. 217 years. I’m fortunate to work at an organization where people are embraced for their differences, and valued for their ideas and the contributions they make to their teams. But as a Human Resources professional, I am all too familiar with the realities of bias and gender inequity that exist in workplaces and societies around the world. These realities stand in stark contrast to the world of limitless possibilities I’ve imagined for you since the day you were born.

But before these feelings have the opportunity to get the better of me, something always restores my confidence and faith in the positive. Some days it’s just watching your mom in action: her unflagging determination has fueled a prosperous legal career and simultaneous success as a wife and mother. Other days it’s your grandmothers who provide inspiration; both have shown that perseverance, selflessness and love can overcome any challenge, big or small. Still other times it’s my amazing team at EY — which is predominantly female — that reminds me that building a better working world is a fight worth fighting, and none of us should rest until the fight is won.

So is there a lesson in here somewhere? I can tell you that I have certainly learned one, and YOU have had a lot to do with it. What I want to tell you … my angel … my warrior … is that there isevery reason to continue to hope and dream and believe in the future. Whenever you feel like the cards are stacked against you, remember all the role models who have come before you, and all thatthey have done to create a better tomorrow. You too can make a difference, even in the face of adversity, because you are strong and smart and determined. On top of that, I will always be here to support you, and help you, because I know you will take that positive spirit and be courageous and determined in whatever path you choose.