Yhanira A.M., an employee at USAA, with her family
If Susan B. Anthony or Rosa Parks had not chosen to challenge the social barriers of their time, we would not be as far along the path to equity as we are today.
The choices of these women and so many like them changed the trajectory of generations to follow.
“There is so much to celebrate when we look at the contributions and advancements of women in our nation, the military and USAA,” says USAA employee Yhanira A. M. who serves as the executive sponsor of Elevate, USAA’s gender diversity and inclusion business group.
“However, we also recognize that there is still progress to be made toward achieving true gender equity. To create true diversity, inclusion and equity for all women, we need to switch the conversation to true belonging. Belonging is something employees will feel when actions match words. When you don’t just have a seat at the table; but your voice is truly heard.”
This year to celebrate Women’s History Month, which takes place in March, Elevate is focusing on the national theme #ChooseToChallenge in an effort to provide women and allies with the tools to confidently advocate for gender diversity and inclusion.
“This might mean choosing to speak up for yourself or someone else,” explains Yhanira. “I think this theme closely aligns to Elevate’s objective of supporting and empowering employees with opportunities for professional and personal growth.”
While women have made great strides in workplace representation over the last few generations, studies indicate that the pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to choose between their career and caring for their family.
“A recent report shows that one in four have women have considered leaving the workforce due to a lack of flexibility during these times when flexibility is crucial,” says Yhanira. “Fortunately, USAA offers great flexibility to employees. But we have to make sure we are watching out for our teammates, as well. If you see someone struggling, step up. The strength of a team depends on the strength of each individual.”
As we focus on the choice to challenge in honor of Women’s History Month, Yhanira says she hopes the theme carries beyond just this month.
“At some point, each of us have benefited from another’s choice to challenge,” she explains. “There is no limit to the impact you will have once you decide to make that impact.”