From internships to volunteer projects to engaged academic journeys, Mission Society programs are foundational for a student’s successful future. Our goal is to clear the way for young people so they can take advantage of infinite possibilities, and begin building meaningful, lasting careers. For the women in our programs who have a higher chance of experiencing inequities in professional life, these opportunities are that much more pivotal.
Despite significant progress, the gender gap is still a prominent part of the American workplace. Women earn 20% less than their male counterparts, and their employment rate is 10% lower. Black and Latinx women are impacted most, earning up to 37% less than their male counterparts. Only 33 of the Fortune 500 companies are led by women, and increasingly less women are represented in higher level positions amongst companies across the country.
Imagine a woman, creative, engaged, and accomplished in school, graduating to face these overwhelming statistics.
At the Mission Society, we have the great privilege of seeing the person behind the harrowing numbers. We know that eliminating the gender gap and creating a lifetime of equal opportunities for women begins in our classrooms. It’s here where they’re empowered to facilitate projects with curiosity and compassion, develop their leadership skills, and learn about their unique talents and inherent value.
A year ago, young women in our Level Up program kicked off an initiative to give back to their local communities. Making videos in their own languages, they spoke about the impact of Covid-19, raised money for the New York Food Bank, and advocated for participation in the 2020 Census. Coordinating this extraordinary effort was no easy feat, but our students went above and beyond to make their voices heard.
During the height of the pandemic, we saw student interns - 62% of whom were women - step into leadership roles and make important professional connections as they transitioned to colleges and universities throughout the country. Our students donned their caps and gowns, walking across virtual stages for graduation. Many of the young female graduates served as our schools’ Salutatorians and Valedictorians.
We've seen communities transform when the women in our programs are given the chance to thrive. Now it’s our job to continue to ensure the way is open to them as they enter the world beyond our schools.