I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!

This post first appeared in SpinSucks, September 22, 2020

On Friday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg passed away. I’m not Jewish, but I grew up Mormon and I’ve always felt the two religions were fairly close in their beliefs, particularly in how they live their lives. The major difference, of course, is Mormons are Christian.

The Future Is FemaleBecause it’s felt so similar to me, I’ve studied it quite a bit. It’s been said that when a person of Jewish faith dies on a high holiday, they are incredibly righteous. Justice Ginsburg died on Rosh Hashanah. If that isn’t some superior way of saying she was an incredible human being and did everything she could to help mankind, I don’t know what is.

But this isn’t about religion. It’s about communications and, because I’m a woman working in a field dominated by women and because I’m a feminist, we can take a slight detour to talk about bigger issues that are important in how we live our lives and advance our careers and our industry.

Justice Ginsburg was not the first woman justice, but she was the first voice for women’s rights. She dedicated her career to gender equality before being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993, where she served until her death. She was not just the first voice for women’s justice, she is the reason women have any semblance of equal rights.

As Abbe Gluck, a Yale Law School professor and former clerk for Justice Ginsburg, put it:

For women, she was the most important legal advocate in American history. She changed the way the law sees gender. The United States Supreme Court did not even recognize that the constitution prohibits discrimination based on gender until 1971 — and that’s Justice Ginsburg’s case.

In the 1970s, the young Ginsburg “convinced the entire nation, through her arguments at the Supreme Court, to… adopt the view of gender equality where equal means the same — not special accommodations for either gender.”

If you are a woman who holds a job or able to keep that job when you became pregnant, you have Justice Ginsburg to thank. If you have a credit card or bank account or house in your name, without the permission of a man, you have Justice Ginsburg to thank. If you were able to marry the person you love, regardless of their gender or yours, you have Justice Ginsburg to thank.

If you don’t even know the number of rights that you have, because there are too many to count, or maybe because you just take them for granted, you have Justice Ginsburg to thank.

I Am Woman. Hear Me Roar!

Juggling work and family has never been easy. It’s been said that women (mostly — some men, too) before the pandemic had carefully created a house of cards that allowed them to work full-time and focus on their careers while building a village to help care for their families and homes.

It used to be that we lived near our families — never leaving the village where our parents and grandparents lived, which allowed us to use familial villages to raise our children. As the world has opened up to us, first by streets and highways, and then by airplanes, though, we’ve left our villages in search of something bigger and better.

Not that that’s necessarily bad, but it’s left us without our familial villages to help us with the life part of work/life balance. So we’ve worked to build villages with the resources we have available. Some of us use friends and neighbors, some daycares and schools, and the most privileged among us hire help. There isn’t a wrong or right way, but this house of cards we’ve built came tumbling down in mid-March of this year.

Schools closed. Daycares closed. We were asked to shelter-in-place, which put all of us on even ground when it came to work and having children at home. For many, the disruption caused by the coronavirus has also shown how stubborn traditional gender roles and pay disparities can be — and how women’s careers often take a back seat when duty calls at home.

Without schools or caregivers to rely on, some women have had to make the difficult choice to leave the workforce or cut back their hours, despite the prospect of long-term damage to their finances and careers.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RIP)

Ruth Bader Ginsberg (R.I.P.)

We see organizations like JP Morgan and Florida State University demanding their employees get back to work, in-person, or to not provide childcare to their own children while on the clock. Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, has said he expects everyone to be back at work 12 hours after a vaccine is available. While the latter was a joke (I think), these are ludicrous requirements when most schools are either virtual or have some sort of hybrid situation going on. Which leaves the workforce to men and women who either haven’t had children or are empty nesters. This is a recipe for a generational wipeout of mothers’ careers.

As we think about how hard Justice Ginsburg fought for equal rights, regardless of gender, it feels like a step back 50 years.

I don’t know what the right answer is, but I do know we have one job to do: we have to continue to fight for equality for all humans, women included. It’s exceptionally challenging right now to care for children while they’re doing distance learning and we’re working full-time. I’m right there in the middle of it with some of you and it sucks.

There are definitely days that I think, “OK, maybe I take a sabbatical until there is a vaccine.” And then there are days, like on Friday when Justice Ginsburg died, that I think, “A dumb pandemic is not going to do me in. I am woman. Hear me roar!”

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

Spin Sucks is devoted to winning the “Fight Against Destructive Spin!” It is out to fight (and change) the negative perception of the PR and marketing industries. The blog provides expert information and advice on current issues and trends surrounding marketing, communication, social media, entrepreneurship, search engine optimization, and advertising.

Labor Day is Coming: Is it Time to Gear Up for the Busy Fall Season?

labor day

Shift Into High Gear

Labor Day is coming and it’s back to school for millions of school children … be it virtual, in-class or hybrid. But this national holiday also signals the unofficial end of summer, when companies shift into high gear to meet their revenue targets for the year. But will that be the case with pandemic in the air and many still working from home?

Many people get the blues but you can avoid the post-summer slump by getting yourself ready for a not as usual busy fall season.

Getting Ready

What does getting ready entail?

First, start thinking about how you’re presenting yourself in every aspect …Read more…

Don’t Gush Over Top Celebrities In a Coaching Session


3d white people. OscarWhen coaching celebrities, it’s important to be respectful of their talent. Gushing over them or asking for their autograph is counterproductive.

If a celebrity spokesperson has been booked for your product launch or PR program, he will most likely need message training. And whether you, or an external coach, is conducting the training, it’s important to take charge and set ground rules. Specifically, the coach needs to be the “director” to get the necessary buy-in from the celebrity for the best results. …Read more…

How Betty Friedan Made Being Assertive (Not Aggressive) OK

It hardly seems possible that 57 years have passed since the publication of Betty Friedan’s groundbreaking book “The Feminine Mystique” in February, 1963.

She made it OK for women to be more assertive in the workplace at a time when companies still ran separate employment ads for women and men. Sure, how things have changed – but maybe not so much as we think.

Aggressive vs. Assertive

Many women – and let’s not leave out men – have issues to this day with being assertive in business. In male dominated industries assertive women are still seen as being “pushy,” while men who assert themselves are viewed as having leadership qualities. …Read more…