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January 19, 2016

Americas: How Women Can Crack the Career Code

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Lauren Leader-Chivée grew up with an activist, feminist mother, during a time she remembers as encouraging women to come together and pool their influence to change the country. In 1974, President Gerald Ford established the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year to look seriously at the opportunities and challenges facing women. This commission, Leader-Chivée recounts, “created one of the most democratic processes this country has ever seen.” Between 1974 and November 1977, when the National Women’s Conference was held in Houston, the commission organized meetings in each state—reaching 130,000 women “across the social, political, and racial spectrum” to select delegates to send to Houston.

lauren leader chiveeIn Leader-Chivée’s mind, that work represents a level of women’s engagement in the political sphere that she wants to recapture today, in service of the opportunities and challenges that women face now. “As enormously successful as women have been in fulfilling much of the promise our mothers were hoping for,” she says, “there is this pent-up energy and frustration about what we still have to do. We have not figured out how to channel that energy and passion in ways that can make the biggest impact.”

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