This is the age of global gender equality — if we want it to be
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This is the age of global gender equality — if we want it to be

As far as we’ve come over the past 25 years, I know there is a long road ahead for true equity across business, politics, education, and all facets of life.
Illustration of MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski and a photo from the Women's March.
Equality is not only a right, it is also economically beneficial for the world.MSNBC; Getty Images

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For 15 years, "Know Your Value," my platform with NBC, has been committed to pay equity and equal representation. And it was my own personal story that led to my first book, “Know Your Value,” which is the foundation for the KYV platform. I teach women and minorities the part of the equation that they can control, which is based on effective communication and authenticity. Back in 2011 when I first wrote “Know Your Value” I could not believe that I would tell the story of my own pay equity issues at MSNBC and have it published with their endorsement. But this is who we are. As far as we’ve come over the past 25 years, I know there is a long road ahead for true equity across business, politics, education, and all facets of life.

I teach women and minorities the part of the equation that they can control, which is based on effective communication and authenticity.

No matter if you’re just entering the workforce or just a few years from retirement, it’s important for everyone to feel they are valued, and rewarded, for their skills. "Know Your Value" covers solutions for all ages, starting with “Earn it!,” my book written with co-author Daniela Pierre Bravo. As a dreamer, I hope Daniela’s story can inspire young women and minorities starting out in their careers. The most effective way we’ve seen to educate and empower women of all ages is to let them tell their stories of navigating life and career. Years ago, MSNBC witnessed the influence of "Know Your Value’s" mission. As partners, we traveled around the country holding events teaching women, especially in minority communities, how to know their value and communicate it effectively. With the backing of Comcast and NBCUniversal we shattered the norms of how women communicate about equity.

Younger women certainly need advice on making sure they start off on equal footing with their male counterparts. Often, women will start at a lower pay scale. When this happens, the data shows they often never catch up. Fixing this gap is an essential part of making sure the next quarter century is more equitable than the last. Companies can do themselves a favor by realizing how equitably, or not, they pay people in the first second and third jobs of their careers. But finding great talent also means meeting people where they are, valuing diversity and, starting at the bottom, listening and learning to employees so they can retain the best workforce through open communication.

Women over 50 have different struggles, especially if they’re trying to jump back into the workplace. As I explained in “Comeback Careers,” written with my co-author (and sister-in-law) Ginny Brzezinski, women over 50, 60, 70 and 80 have value — lots of it. As a result of that project, along with Forbes, we launched 50 over 50, a project celebrating women over 50 that proves women and minorities have a very long runway ahead of them.

To use President Joe Biden’s words, “here’s the deal:” There is not just one road to success, and companies must diversify their approach to training and retaining talent so they don’t miss out. Communication is key. We all win when women and minorities grow their value and make it to the top, where they should be!

Happily, we are starting to see progress. More than a quarter century after Hilary Clinton declared “women’s rights are human’s rights,” and the United Nations’ Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action pledged to take the necessary steps to “remove all obstacles to gender equality and the advancement and empowerment of women,” support for gender equality has increased exponentially worldwide.

There are many ways to define of gender equality, but pay equity, equal representation in positions of power and having the authority to call the shots are all vital facets of this key global metric. And they all lead to equal opportunities for success.

As the world marches towards the next phase of gender equality, we must wake up to the limitless advantages that come with gender equity. Equality is not only a right, it is also economically beneficial for the world. This is the time to set an example for the next generation of policymakers, of innovators and of citizens. This is the age of equality. This is the age of change.