There’s no doubt ageism is an issue many women face in a variety of forms, from Hollywood to the boardroom. Seasoned women might feel as though they are being pushed aside in favor of young rookies. But make no mistake about it, early career ladies face some challenges too.
During my first week at my first college internship, I was in the break room, wearing my most professional outfit and pouring creamer into my coffee. A co-worker I hadn’t met yet waltzed in and declared, “You’re too young for coffee!” Deflated, it felt like she said, “You’re too inexperienced to be here!” It was an unfortunate experience but one I learned a great deal from.
Let’s do our best to not sulk when someone only sees age rather than skill. Because whether you’re 21 or 71, ladies, you belong.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 61 Percent
I’m all for combatting thoughtless commentary with a pithy comeback. And some women, particularly millennials—women currently between the ages of 18 and 34—are more brazen than ever.
When CafeMedia surveyed 3,000 millennial women about a range of issues, the findings were pretty interesting. When asked about the three most important aspects of their careers, 61 percent of millennial women said they accept job offers based on whether they’ll actually like the work rather than relying solely on salary or benefits when making the decision. That might have something to do with the fact that 84 percent of millennial women aren’t afraid to do their own thing and chart their own career paths.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Rhonesha Byng, Founder and CEO of Her Agenda
When you search “millennial women” on Google, you get a whole lot of negativity—about how they aren’t motivated, how they don’t want kids, how they drink nearly half of the wine purchased in America. I find most of that to be a little bogus (except the last one. Cheers!). While there are tons of online resources about millennial women, there don’t seem to be many publications that speak with or to millennial women.
That’s one reason Rhonesha Byng created an empowering digital-media platform called Her Agenda, which works to bridge the gap between ambition and achievement for millennial women. Her Agenda offers women a variety of helpful resources, like the Power Directory, which features a list of female-empowerment organizations, and the Power Agenda, through which powerful women from a variety of industries share stories about how they became successful and offer tips for young women. The site also highlights events, scholarships, internships, job listings and conferences, so you pack your own agenda with tons of expert career goodies.
Rhonesha is proof that age really is just a number. Not quite 30 years old, she won an Emmy Award while working as a field producer for NBC New York’s breaking-news team. This rising star also received the Student of the Year Award from the Emma Bowen Foundation in 2011, and was a Posse Foundation scholar. Now, through Her Agenda, Rhonesha is galvanizing an entire generation of women to kick some serious butt in their own careers.
Rhonesha is a strong believer in the motto “No one ever slows her agenda.” In fact, when she was 16, she had business cards printed that included that motto. She then handed out those business cards at every press event and professional conference she could visit, with the gutsy—yet true—belief that she’d eventually become a working journalist.
Her Agenda’s aim is to help millennial women feel confident enough to take those same kinds of risks to help build a better future for themselves. Thanks, Rhonesha, for giving millennial women a space to feel heard, a space to connect and the conviction to flourish.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Today’s inspiring quote comes from supermodel Tyra Banks. She said:
“You have what it takes to be a victorious, independent, fearless woman.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.