This D&I Newsletter is dedicated to Women’s History Month to celebrate the economic, political, and social contributions of women. Women continue to face challenges and COVID-19 has shined a bright light on the dynamic roles they hold from caregivers, homeschoolers, and full-time executives. We hope to highlight how women are taking the lead to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion, create resilience and agility in themselves and others and engage their communities to come together in unity.
What is Women’s History Month?
Women’s History Month is an honorary time during the month of March to recognize the many accomplishments of women throughout history.
How Did Women’s History Month Get Started?
Women's History Month was established by a presidential proclamation issued by President Jimmy Carter in order to draw attention to and improve the focus on women in historical studies in the 1980s. The story of this journey began in New York City on March 8th,1857, when female textile workers marched in protest of unfair working conditions and unequal rights for women. It was one of the first organized strikes by working women, during which they called for a shorter workday and decent wages. Police aggressively halted the demonstration, but several years later the determined women formed their own union.
On March 8th,1908, women workers in the needle trades marched through New York City's Lower East Side to protest child labor, sweatshop working conditions, and demand women’s suffrage. In 1911, March 19th was observed as International Women’s Day to acknowledge women’s continuing struggle for recognition and rights. In 1921, the date was changed to March 8th and became annually observed as International Women's Day.
In 1978 the schools of Sonoma County, California, named March Women’s History Month as a means of examining women’s history, issues, and contributions. The idea gained momentum, and in 1981 a congressional resolution proclaimed the week surrounding March 8th National Women’s History Week. In 1986 the National Women’s History Project played a significant role in the expansion of the observance to the entire month of March as a celebration of the economic, political, and social contributions of women.
What is the legacy of Women’s History Month?
This is the month where we celebrate learning about the female impact on history and the present-day (the big names to the unsung heroes). It's also a time when we focus on learning more about the female perspective on movements throughout human history. By and large, when it comes to history, the story of women is largely one of exclusion, silence, absence, and bias. Women have made a lot of history, but sometimes, looking at the history books, you wouldn’t exactly know it. Women weren’t allowed to create history for a very long time, they were denied access to education, voting rights, the ability to stand for election, not allowed to make their own contraceptive decisions, own property, or control businesses. Despite modern progress being made for the better, it is important to acknowledge the past and that there is still work to be done. We still have countries and societies in the world where women don’t have the same rights as men.
In 2020-2021 COVID-19 has also shined a light on the many hats women wear, from caregiver to homeschooler, to full-time executive. As a result, women have been disproportionately impacted by job losses during the pandemic; 80% of all workers over the age of 20 who left the workforce in January were women. The issue is even more severe for women of color. Black women aged 20 and older, are dropping out of the workforce at a 25% higher rate than the national average, while Hispanic and Latina women are leaving at a nearly 50% higher rate. While it is important to celebrate women in the workforce as well as in history it is also important to be aware of the current realities of being a woman.
Beyond honoring the past and our present - recognition is incredibly important. Just knowing a woman’s name and how she made an impact reshapes the course of how history is written, how generations perceive society, and serve as a beacon of inspiration for future generations.
Resources & Recommendations
Through the collective efforts and contributions of several Palisades Media Group team members, the D&I team has selected a handful of podcasts, books, and other resources to highlight for Women’s History Month.
Feminist Frequency Radio (Podcast)
Where to find it: Spotify and Apple Podcast
What’s it about: Feminist Frequency Radio is coming for your media. Each week, Anita Sarkeesian, Carolyn Petit, and Ebony Aster bring you dispatches from the pop culture wars and invite you to listen in on their entertaining, stimulating, take-no-prisoners conversations about the latest films, games, and tv. They’ll be bringing their distinctly different feminist perspectives to the mix as they celebrate and critique it all. With special guests from all over the feminist media sphere, an assortment of great bonus segments, and your questions keeping them on their toes, Feminist Frequency Radio is there to help you dig deeper into the things you love.
Why it’s Important: “This is one of my absolute favorite podcasts. This a conversation between three women – two women of color and one trans woman – about feminist takes on pop culture, news, and media. FFR encourages you to be critical of the media you love, and has invariably made me think deeper and open my eyes about a lot of things”- Katie O’Donnell
The Vote (Miniseries)
Where to find it: PBS
What’s it about: Exploring how and why millions of 20th-century Americans mobilized for — and against — women’s suffrage, The Vote brings to life the unsung leaders of the movement and the deep controversies over gender roles and race that divided Americans then — and continue to dominate political discourse today
Why it’s important: "Everyone has heard of Susan B. Anthony, and likely Elizabeth Cady Stanton, too, but before this documentary, I’d never heard of Alice Paul, the American who joined the British suffragettes during their struggle and was arrested and force-fed due to refusing nutrition. She brought her strategies and determination to America and led a group of 1000 women who picketed for 18 months at the White House. I’d also never realized how many Black suffragists organized and worked, just to be ignored in favor of the white suffragists. Although 1920 brought the 19th amendment, and the right to vote for white women, Native American women weren’t able to vote until between 1924 and 1962, Chinese women in 1943, Black and Latinx women in 1965 with the Voting Rights Act, and the struggle continues today for many people of color. This is one of those documentaries that notes this complex history along with the current ramifications, and I highly recommend it!" – Katie O’Donnell
In Her Words, New York Times (Newsletter)
Where to find it: New York Times
What’s it about: A bi-weekly newsletter that reports and analyzes current events with a feminist lens.
Why it’s important: "I love this newsletter, it’s a great reminder to consider identity when reading the news, and often makes salient points about how particularly women in the workplace are challenged by societal bias.” – Aria Schuler
Suzanne Lacy (Contemporary Artist)
About the Artist: Suzanne Lacy is a pioneer of socially engaged art and public practice, promoting dialogue and collaborations with communities — artists, activists, organizations, schools — throughout her prolific career. Since the 1970s, she has used community organizing strategies and media interventions to galvanize discussions about pressing social issues including feminism, violence against women, racism, and labor rights. These projects often culminate in large-scale, highly choreographed performances that bring together diverse groups of participants to share their stories.
Her work: Suzanne Lacy is an amazing contemporary artist who does full-scale installations of performance art like Between the Letter and the Door where she closed a block in Brooklyn and had 60 apartment stoops be places for women and passersby to congregate and talk about gender, race, etc.
Bad Feminist (Book)
Author: Roxane Gay
What It’s about: Bad Feminist explores being a feminist while loving things that could seem at odds with feminist ideology. Gay's essays engage the pop culture and her personal experiences, covering topics such as the Sweet Valley High series, Django Unchained, and Gay's own upbringing as a Haitian-American
Why it’s Important: “Empowering, provocative, informative – all the buzz words and more. I related to some of the essays – but more importantly, it opened my eyes and highlighted other experiences of being a woman that I hadn’t experienced. This broadened my perspective, allowing me to connect to other people in a way that was centered around myself.” – Hilary Langlois
PMG Diversity Spotlight
Mary Stanley, VP Group Director
I’m so lucky to have so many All-Star women in my life. Professionally, I’ve worked with so many who have been mentors, pioneers in their field, and have nurtured my career even before I knew this was to be my career path. For that, I am grateful.
That said, my big sister Giovanna (known to most as Jonie) is truly extraordinary! Jonie was the first person in our big, loud extended Italian family to go to college. Believe me when I say this was a big deal, especially back in my small hometown circa 1983 where most young women opted for marriage or low-paying local jobs out of high school! Jonie has always been intelligent and even skipped the 5th grade on the suggestion of her teachers. She graduated from Fresno State University with a BS in Mathematics, a generally male-dominated discipline, while simultaneously receiving her teaching credential, and became one of the youngest math teachers to ever hold that position in the Fresno Unified School District. Not long after, she went on to earn her Master’s degree in Education. This prompted her to move on from teaching to become a Guidance and Learning Director, and then a Vice Principal.
It didn’t take long for her stellar reputation to be noticed. Eventually, she was recruited by the district and has held the position of Human Resources/Labor Relations Administrator at Fresno Unified School District for 10 years. Her responsibilities are immense. She oversees the coordination of ALL hiring for district employees (+10,000) and the processing of all “Discipline” district employees ( +2,000). Oh, the stories she could tell!
But what I find most extraordinary about my big sis is not that she’s done so well in her career, anyone who knows her or ever worked with her could have easily predicted her professional success. What I’m most proud of is how gracefully she has been able to shatter the false dichotomy that a woman must choose between having a career and being a good mother. The love and devotion she has for her family are second to none. Her dedication to work and her work ethic are second to none. She is a well-known highly respected education professional in her community AND the best mom, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, and cousin. You can do both! She has all her life.
My big sis is my hero. Don’t forget to reach out to yours and let her know.
Check out more PMG Women's History Month Spotlights here.
Community organizations and small businesses are the heart and soul of neighborhoods, as they create a sense of belonging and provide a space for all to enjoy! Check out this special non-profit organization and two women-owned businesses you should visit when you’re in the Mid City neighborhood!
Location: 5011 W Pico Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90019
With the start of Spring, it’s a perfect time to acquire a lovely plant for your home or as a gift to a friend or family member. Amorette Brooms, the owner of Queen Boutique, shifted from selling women’s accessories to plants as a way to keep her business open during the COVID-19 Safer at Home Order. Besides a broad selection of plants from Fiddle Fig to Ferns, there are many colorful ceramic pots available too! Plants and pots can be ordered on their website and they offer contactless local delivery.
Our Team’s Recommendations: Dracaena Lemon Lime Plant, Indian Rubber Plant, “Hauve” Ceramic Pot
Three Borders Brunch & Grill
Location: 5269 W Olympic Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90036
A fusion of three cultures and borders: El Salvador, Mexico, and the United States, brings out the delicious flavors and joyful atmosphere at the Three Borders Brunch & Grill. Born in El Salvador, Yanira dreamed of opening a business and sharing the magical recipes she learned from her mother and grandmother, while also incorporating healthier ingredients. Yanira welcomed us with a caring smile and welcoming attitude that gave us a “visiting a close friend or aunt” experience.
Our Team’s Recommendations: Breakfast Carne Asada Tronquito, Watermelon Agua Fresca, Steak & Hashbrowns Torta, Pupusas with Jalepeño, Cheese, and Carne Asada
Recruitment, Mentorship, & Retention
Why Women in the Workplace Matter
While women make up around 50% of the workforce, they only make up a small proportion of leadership positions in most industries. However, when it comes to cultivating a productive and diverse workplace, it has been proven that female employees play an integral role in its success. There have been a number of data-driven studies that have been conducted to verify this theory, ultimately concluding that hiring a gender-diverse workforce can directly improve a company’s financial performance and bottom line. Employing more females in the workplace also encourages different viewpoints, ideas, and insight which enables better problem solving and leadership skills.
A recent study commissioned by Netflix and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative set out to examine the diversity of Netflix’s original content. The streamer has been found to outpace the industry in hiring women of color directors in films/series and achieve increased gender equality in leading roles across films/series. In an industry that is traditionally known to favor males, it is inspiring to see one of PMG’s own clients striving to set better standards for the wider entertainment industry and work towards inclusive change. Dr. Stacy L. Smith, who was part of leading this study, captures the main takeaway with a great quote - “Inclusion happens when women are given the keys to the kingdom.”
Even within our own agency, there are so many amazing females among our staff and leadership who are worthy of celebration not only during Women’s History Month but also every day of the year! We are proud to state that females make up more than ⅔ (67%) of the Leadership team at PMG. This speaks to PMG’s continued commitment to recruiting talented women and ability to mentor/influence staff internally. It’s also worth noting the long careers that several female employees have had here, which is a testament to PMG’s success in talent retention.
PMG would not be who we are today without the extraordinary women employees from our past, present, and future, who continue to pave the way for the success of our agency - We celebrate you, and thank you for everything that you do!