The increasing number of women in positions of leadership has been vital to changing our national narrative about what is fair and equitable. I have known great female leaders throughout my career, from New York City schools to those in many prominent organizations here on Long Island. These women leaders have brought about powerful change.
Women have been marginalized historically, but their participation in our society makes for a stronger union. During Women’s History Month, we have recognized the contributions of our female leaders and the challenges to gender equity that remain. Those challenges are faced by women of all backgrounds, affecting our nation in many ways that are not always effectively conveyed or fully understood.
In the New York City Department of Education in the 1990s, a group of women banded together in what became known as the Offeree Movement, battling employment inequity among custodial workers in the city’s schools. The fight wasn’t easy, and it took many years, but they were on the right side of history and ultimately prevailed. They not only became part of the fabric of the profession, but became leaders among their new colleagues. We thank them for the path they forged.
Currently there are many talented women working for the NAACP, the Long Island Latino Teachers Association, the Long Island Black Educators Association and the Cedarmore Corporation, advocating for an equitable path forward. They will succeed. Please learn about these groups and participate in their great work. Their success is our success, as the world they are creating will be beneficial to all members of our society.
Join these organizations if you believe we are stronger together, or if you believe in gender equity, or if you believe in the rights of all people — or join them if you would like to be in the presence of great people doing transformative things for other people. These groups are about fairly addressing the needs of all members of our society, even when confronted by those who don’t share their values. Their collective good is stronger than the fringe bad.
Patrick M. Pizzo II, Ed.D., is the assistant superintendent for business and finance in the East Meadow School District, the president of Equity 4 LI Youth and the Education Committee chair for the Hempstead branch of the NAACP.