These views are mine, and mine alone and should not be interpreted as UMA’s position on political or any other matters.
I was raised in a wonderful tradition where matters of religion or politics were considered deeply private. Writing this goes against much of my upbringing (and perhaps better judgment), but I find that my passion on one isolated issue about this week’s election outweighs my sense of etiquette. All of this week I have struggled deeply with reconciling the results of the election with my fundamental belief that women truly are equal and must be respected as such.
Why? Because I took so much offense to Trump’s remarks and actions towards women, that his policy positions became completely immaterial to his candidacy from that point on. To me, he became a very dangerous person in a position of leadership because of the grave risks he poses to gender equality: from little girls’ perception about their ability to achieve greatness to a teenager’s issues with body image. With that precursor, I could not find it in me to understand how any individual with the slightest amount of respect for women could vote for Trump. And apparently nearly half of America is that individual. I'm deeply concerned that on both conscious and subconscious levels, an insidious gender inequality is very much alive and thriving amongst us. I have grieved all this week about the inferior perception of women by men - and even by some women themselves - in the world we live in.
I have found it extremely hard to channel this angst into something constructive, but I'm trying. As early supporters of a young brand that stands for equality, you are some of the brightest people and the most powerful change agents: as employers, mothers, sisters, girlfriends, daughters, wives and more. I felt it necessary to reach out and say that we must do everything we can to end gender disparity.
I believe the need to make things right is more dire now than ever; my views on women commanding respect by showing, not telling, more cemented than ever. Let's fight harder to factually make the leaderboard in everything. Let's close that wage gap. Let's negotiate harder. Let's never ever let ourselves believe there's anything in the world that we cannot do. Let's hire strong women and nurture and develop them. Let's be bold and take risks.
In the spirit of going beyond lip service, our all-women Americas team sprung into action the morning after the election (inspired by the words of an Instagram follower who tagged us). Through November, we will donate 20% of UMA’s proceeds to Girls Who Code, because I have always believed that true gender equality will come from our ability to be financially independent, and make equal wages as men. Girls who Code is a wonderful organization that powers critical components of that premise by educating young girls in disciplines that will enable them to compete ably for the highest paying jobs.
Yes, I'm slightly embarrassed to pull a Jerry Maguire right now and I probably will embarrass myself in coming months by challenging social norms that I view misogynistic. But if it can make the smallest change on this critical topic, it will be worth it. Political views aside, strictly within the realm of fostering gender equality - which I hope all of us believe is right - I hope you'll join me.
- Shrankhla Holecek, Founder of UMA