How a Chamber United Their Community to Honor Women
In honor of Women's Equality Day on August 26th, 2017, the Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce and the City of Morgan Hill joined together to produce a weeklong series of events to celebrate the work and accomplishments of women in their community. All community members were invited to join in discussion, celebration, and support for women of all ages and from all walks of life.
The event came about from a nonchalant discussion between chamber staff and a city council member. The theme for the 2017 City Council Agenda was "Inclusion." And what better way to highlight the theme than to organize a celebration of women within our community to align with the upcoming Women's Equality Anniversary?
The programs that were decided upon for the weeklong series were:
- A movie night at the local theater featuring the movie "Hidden Figures"
- A seminar about contacting & speaking with elected officials run by the local AAUW branch
- An official City Council Proclamation and recognition of female city employees
- A "Powerful Women's Panel Discussion"
- A Mid-Day Mixer at a local woman-owned café
The movie "Hidden Figures" was selected in honor of women's work behind the scenes and the battle for equality for women of color. The local AAUW branch jumped on board quickly, organizing their "Let Your Voice Be Heard” workshop, encouraging young women to raise their hands and become involved in politics.
The official proclamation from the City Council was presented in honor of, not only the women in the community, but also the women in the city government. By far, the most engaging event was the "Powerful Women's Panel Discussion" which featured Q and A from a panel of women including a Congresswoman, a Superior Court Judge, the VP Area Manager of Kaiser Permanente, the President of Gavilan College, the Assistant City Manager of Morgan Hill, and the owner of a successful architecture company.
The Mid-Day Mixer was the final event of the week and culminated in women standing on the corner of a downtown street to raise their united hands in a show of support and strength.
The communication and collaboration between the City and Chamber of Commerce were seamless and presented to the community a united front for this important weeklong program. With the exception of the movie showing (tickets were sold for $5.00 each), all events were free and open to anyone (men, women, and/or children) interested in attending.
Hearing the Q & A from the "Powerful Women's Panel Discussion" encouraged women to share their individual experiences and receive instruction from some high-level women in our own community. Many attendees of these events still approach their chamber today with pride and praise for creating this program for women to stand together in strength and unison. Non-profit organizations, businesses and community members alike expressed their support and gratitude for such a powerful tribute to women in their community.
Due to the overwhelming response from the community and local businesses, the chamber has confirmed that the Celebration of Women's Week in Morgan Hill will again return in 2018!