We spend a lot of time thinking about what gender equality could do for our future. But have you ever stopped to think what it could have done for the past?
Maybe the Constitution would have included an equal rights amendment if a Schuyler Sister had been in the room. Maybe 2008 would have been just another year if the Lehman Brothers had been the Lehman Sisters. And what if there had been some Mad Women along with the Mad Men?
This Women’s History Month, we’re taking a deep dive into the past to think about what could have happened if more women had been in power during key moments in history.
1776: The Constitution, but make it inclusive
The year: 1776. The scene: Lots of white men in wigs sitting around the table writing the Constitution — which, btw, still doesn’t guarantee women equal rights. (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all MEN are created equal.”)
1960: Mad Women
What if Madison Avenue conference rooms had had more Peggys and fewer Don Drapers during the Mad Men days? What if women had been in the room making advertising decisions for the last 50 years? We’d like to think there would have been a lot less happy housewife BS and a lot more #DreamCrazier campaigns (hell yeah, Nike).
1970–2009: Bernice Madoff
Yes, now-disgraced financier Bernie Madoff began his Ponzi scheme THAT long ago. We’ve got a feeling that a Bernice Madoff maybe wouldn’t have stolen billions of dollars from her clients over a period of three decades.
After all, research suggests that more women in leadership positions could equal fewer corporate crimes.
1997: The Paycheck Fairness Act ... would be a thing.
The year: 1997. The scene: The Paycheck Fairness Act has hit the floor of Congress for the first time. And unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve most likely heard of this piece of legislation.
Probably because it’s been proposed 12 times over the past 20 years. The purpose of the bill is to add eight additional protections to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Surprise (not): Women legislators are more likely to fight for issues that matter to women. But we haven’t exactly had equal representation in that arena, sooo.
2004: “You’re hired!”
Imagine “The Apprentice” with Donna at the head of the table instead. (Go ahead, imagine it. We’ll be here when you’ve shaken the mental image.)
But that’s a TV show we’d totally tune in for: Women are more likely to hire other women ... and promote them, too.
2008: Just Another Year
Imagine it’s 2008, but it’s the Lehman Sisters, rather than the Lehman Brothers, in charge.
Impending economic doom? Or just another year, Britney drama notwithstanding? We think things could have been very different if the financial world had had more women leaders. (It wasn’t diverse in 2008 … and it’s still not.)
Why? Well, for starters, women are better investors at both an individual and professional level. In fact, a report called “The Lehman Sisters Hypothesis” notes that men fund managers lost twice as much as the women did during the height of the financial crisis.
Shoutout to Christine Lagarde of the IMF for coining “Lehman Sisters.” We stan.
2018: “GREAT party!”
The year: 2018. The scene: A dangerous and disorganized hot mess of an island festival is summed up by a viral picture of a sad sliver of cheese with a side of bread in a styrofoam container.
But what if that same new venture had been run by Lily McFarland? There’s lots of research to suggest that women are more successful start-up CEOs. And lots more to show that women executives are much less likely to commit corporate fraud.
Sooo here’s to Billy for proving that point further, hot-mess style.
All of history: Not so Anonymous
The year: All of history. Can you imagine if the hundreds of women artists, poets, writers, performers, journalists, etc. had used their name, rather than Anonymous? Young women need someone they can point to and say, “She looks like me. If she can do it, I can too.”
We women can no longer be written out of history. We are here, and we’re not going anywhere.
We’re going to keep talking about equality. We’re going to keep pushing for it, at work and at home. We’re going to fight for more — more pay, more funding, more of us in positions of power. The history we’re writing now, today, can be better. Because what’s good for women is good for everyone. For the economy. For the environment. For our kids. And for the whole damn world.