Honoring a legacy: Ruth Bader Ginsburg
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION |
Ruth Bader Ginsburg – it’s a name most of us know, and one that many of us love. Sadly, Justice Ginsburg, architect of the legal fight for women’s rights in the 1970s, passed away recently, after serving 27 years on the Supreme Court of the United States. (She was the second woman ever to serve on the Court.)
Given the instrumental role that Ginsburg played in creating gender equality, several leaders of RSM‘s women’s initiative and I have had conversations and exchanged emails since her death about the profound impact that Ginsburg had on women’s equality and on us individually as female leaders.
One of the things that strikes us as we’ve connected with one another is that – particularly during the early part of her career – Ginsburg understood the importance of establishing a network of allies who could help her succeed in what was then the male-dominated legal profession.
Here at RSM, we know that women need allies, but ally-ship isn’t up to them alone. We do a number of things to foster ally-ship, which helps us retain and advance women. One example: last fall, we brought together women partners, principals and operations leaders as well as next generation female leaders to talk about why gender issues are important and why women need allies. We also shared practical steps on how women can overcome gender challenges, and discussed how both men and women can be better allies to women at all levels in our workplace. However, creating allies isn’t enough. Our STAR Success Series is an educational program, which provides RSM women at various levels of their careers with the confidence to achieve their career goals, and facilitates their career growth, personal development and professional networking, while equipping them with tools for success.
We also understand the importance of diversity of perspectives, and we recognize that companies that have more women on teams, specifically in leadership roles, are more successful than companies with fewer women. As Ginsburg, herself said, “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made…It shouldn’t be that women are the exception.” It’s about creating better outcomes, and we do that here at RSM by encouraging the retention and advancement of our women and emphasizing the value of their perspectives because when we better understand the perspectives of others, particularly those who are not ‘just like us,’ it leads to better outcomes.
These are just a few things we’re doing to promote equity and inclusion at RSM. As the national leader of our firm’s women’s initiative, I can tell you that RSM is taking big steps to close the gender gap. In addition to discussing gender issues at various leadership meetings, we receive great support for the networking, leadership and skill development activities hosted across the firm, including trainings and events that are customized for all-female audiences.
Throughout my leadership of RSM’s women’s initiative, Ginsburg has inspired me personally to empower our women. In fact, she was a significant influence for the business case we developed for gender diversity within RSM – a business case based on the value women bring to our firm and our clients, and one that our leadership team readily embraced and wholeheartedly supports.
So many of Ginsburg’s positions on various cases over the years were based on the benefit of women’s contributions vs their need for special treatment. It’s about equality – something that all of us, regardless of gender or any other differentiating factors, deserve.
The best way we can honor Ginsburg’s life and her many contributions to society is by continuing her legacy by being tireless champions of equality. At RSM, we intend to do just that by continuing our commitment to inclusion – for all of our 11,000+ people across the country and in Canada.
Thank you, Justice Ginsburg, for leading the way!
National STAR Employee Network Group leader, and
Washington, D.C. Metro Market Leader, Government Contracting National Industry Leader
DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION
STAR advocates for women in the workplace with a focus on stewardship, teamwork, advancement and retention opportunities.