“Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Only 24 words, strung together in a single sentence; that’s the entirety of Section 1 of the Equal Rights Amendment, or ERA, a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee full legal equality for all Americans regardless of their sex. Initially proposed in 1923, the ERA came close to ratification in 1972; it was passed by Congress and given seven years (later extended to 10) to be ratified by two-thirds of states, dying in 1982 just three states short of the 38-state constitutional threshold.
The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk presents a workplace dilemma on how to initiate change in an environment not conducive to complete equality and inclusion relating to gender. Moreover, it challenges the roots that initiate these sentiments and weighs the consequences of bringing these to light. It relates the general decision to speak up when suffering from gender-based offenses to whether or not the audience is ready to receive and modify the actions of society.
From a young age, I have received a lot of support from my parents, teachers, coaches, and peers in becoming a leader. I am privileged in that I have not faced any grand obstacle that has prevented me from success. Instead, it is the smaller moments of prejudice that lead me to self-doubt and confusion. The feeling of being lost in my leadership has been a consistent experience in my development as a leader. For that reason, I believe that in their essay Women and the Labyrinth of Leadership, Eagly’s and Carli’s description of the challenges of leadership as a woman as a labyrinth rather than a glass ceiling, is very fitting.