Managing and Mending Woman

Managing and Mending Woman

Can you remember the first time you learned about Clara Barton?

She has recently shown up in a mini-series and most people probably just nodded and thought, “Of course, Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross.”

Did you know that she was also a patent office clerk? Seems that being paid the same amount as her male colleagues was quite the problem – and a first for a female government clerk.  Yet being in Washington, D.C. at the outbreak of the Civil War put her in the right place at the right time to find her life’s calling. 

As we watch images of refugees leaving Ukraine in the latest of the world’s conflicts, someone like Clara Barton springs to mind — someone with an incredible knack for organization, skill at tending to the wounded, and, importantly, raising the funds to do the work.

A recent piece on Marketplace focused on how best to help those fleeing Ukraine mentioned, yes Clara Barton, who handed out cash in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War.

Wait – she was even helping in the Franco Prussian War?

Take a few minutes to read a bit about her life. 

She was painfully shy as a young girl, but when did she feel most comfortable? Helping others. 

She got rather good at it.

Calculating Woman

Calculating Woman

A is for Ada

And for Algorithm

Algorithm is a word that has gone from the confines of math textbooks to everyday parlance, especially for anyone in computers, finance, or even compensation. 

Did you know that the person credited for creating the first computer algorithm was Ada Knight, Lady Lovelace? 

In a short (1815 to 1852) but rather extraordinary life her passion for mathematics led to a collaboration with Charles Babbage, who many consider the father of the computer. 

Read more about her, her life, her contributions to mathematics, and her rather famous literary parentage.


Witnessing History, Making History

Witnessing History, Making History

Women’s History Month Kicks off today in the US, UK, and Australia amongst other countries. 

Madeleine Albright deserves a place in U.S. History books as the first woman to serve as Secretary of State for the country she immigrated to as a girl.  She immigrated to the US after living in the UK and Switzerland after her own country was overtaken at the outset of World War II.

In 2012, she published a book called Prague Winter which recounted her family’s journey from a relatively young democracy, Czechoslovakia, to England, where she and her family were again in harms way thanks to Nazi bombing raids.  The book provides a great deal of background detail on the history of the country and the region so that those unfamiliar with it could understand the pre-conditions that gave Hitler the excuses he exploited to annex her homeland in 1938.

When discussing why she wrote the book, and the key lessons people should take from it, she summarized (paraphrased from memory):

Czechoslovakia was the only democracy in the region and over a weekend other countries decided it was worth sacrificing to a madman because it was small and spoke a funny language.

No wonder she was the first woman who came to mind as we start out this month.  Long before Madeleine Albright was making history, she had a first-row seat TO history. 

The Madness of March

The Madness of March

There is March Madness, and then there are some things to get mad about in March.  

Mad as in frustrated. 

Texas and Indiana are miles apart—as were the facilities (and the swag bags!) provided by the NCAA to those college athletes competing in their national basketball championship.

Title IX was enacted in 1972. It stated that “[n]o person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” 

Seems a decent weight room is somehow exempt from the “benefits of” when referring to a women’s program. The NCAA was forced to apologize last Friday when Sedona Price of the University of Oregon Women’s Basketball team posted pictures of the simple dumbbell set representing ALL of the workout equipment afforded the women’s team at the NCAA Tournament, while the men’s teams had vast facilities, with a myriad of machines and weights. 

These benefits have certainly been denied the women of college sports. 

This Women’s History Month let’s not confuse the rules with the reality. Saying someone is equal does not make them so. Enacting a law stating discrimination is wrong, does not eliminate it. Let’s be more demanding, like Sedona Price, about real equality that lives up to the law’s intent. Sedona might wear a different uniform than the Suffragettes, but 100 years later, she used a different platform to make sure that the voices of female athletes were heard.



It is hard to read the news right now and not encounter the word she-cession.  

Given that it is Women’s History Month, one aspect of the she-cession came into focus while re-watching the movie On the Basis of Sex, a partial biography of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  

It is that woman who is highly skilled at her job—years of experience that cannot be replaced.  Maybe it is someone, like Ruth Bader Ginsburg who was top of her class, has a brilliant legal mind, and cannot stand watching her own children flounder as they are not suited for online learning? Perhaps a young pharmacist whose childcare has closed? These are people who have amassed extraordinary amounts of human capital that are currently not being employed.  

As sad as all of this is, the larger tragedy will be if workplaces do not establish approaches and programs to transition these workers back into the fold. A recent study done by three economists at the San Francisco Fed estimates that between the onset of Covid in February 2020 and the end of 2020, the employment rate of mothers fell by 7% and their labor participate rate fell by 4%. 1

Despite RBG never landing that big law firm job, she gained attention when she took on a court case involving a section of the tax code regarding the deductibility of caregiving expenses. It seems the issue of trying to balance work to financially support and care for those we love has been flummoxing Americans for a very long time. RBG was notorious for trying to eliminate the barriers that prevented many from contributing both at home and at work.



In March, we celebrate women’s history month in the United States. Traditionally, women’s history is harder to document – legally women had fewer rights, often could not own property, and in some instances were the property of their fathers or husbands. Yet the tiniest bit of digging into family history, company history, and national history, will unearth the many contributions women have made.

To kick off this month, CHRC wanted to provide this link to various programs and resources ranging from the National Archives to the National Park Service that highlight the contributions of American women in our country. Spend a lunchtime getting to know some of the heroines of our past!

But we can’t just look backwards.

In an effort to ensure that women no longer have to bring their folding chair to get a seat at the table and now work in equitable work environments, we are taking the advice of Rachel Schall Thomas, of For International Women’s Day, March 8, has developed free resources so that companies can build more equal workplaces—this International Women’s Day and beyond.

Not only is there a hands-on approach for teaching organizations 50 ways how to fight bias with digital cards—but there are training resources, a PowerPoint, and moderator materials that can be delivered in person or virtually.