Women have demonstrated we are willing to do the work, to log the long hours, to make the sacrifices—but you can’t lean into a door that’s barred shut. The system has to change.
Miami attorney Loreal Arscott was getting ready for work one morning when she hesitated. Scheduled to appear in court that day, she debated whether to put her hair into a bun to make her colleagues feel more comfortable. She was reminded of the comments she’d heard many times before as people compared her curly and straightened hairstyles. In addition, as a Black woman, she needed to worry constantly about her performance in court. Would she be seen as “too aggressive?” Would she do a disservice to her client because of her passion for her work?
Carlette Duffy owns a fully renovated three-bedroom house in Indianapolis. Looking to refinance to help her grandmother with some home improvement projects, Carlette sought an appraisal and was shocked at her home’s low valuation. She tried again, but the second appraisal came in even lower.
In August, I spent a frantic week creating a home away from home for my two daughters as they began their journey as students at Columbia Law School. After navigating New York’s crowded streets and elevators with bulky bags, boxes, and furniture, we quickly unpacked and then celebrated with dinner on our final evening together. I gave my daughters a pep talk about the importance of working hard, of reading every case and completing every assignment, and being not just prepared but overprepared.
As I read Coco Gauff’s tweet announcing that a positive COVID test had ended her 2021 Olympic dream, I remembered all too vividly the dashed hopes of two other young women.