Women Are Necessary to Create Our Opportunity Nation

by Monique Rizer   •  

“On International Women’s Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.” — UN Secretary-General, António Guterres

Today is International Women’s Day, and March is Women’s History Month. Throughout this month, we will highlight women on social media as a part of this collective effort to celebrate women and girls and the important investments we must make to advance opportunity for women.

As a woman and mother, I’m proud to lead Opportunity Nation. I’m also proud that our board chair is Major General Sharon Dunbar. Women lead in many ways across many industries. We lead the fight for education and jobs like Senator Susan Collins and her bipartisan legislation to increase economic security and educational success for families. We lead the fight against poverty, like the founder and CEO of Acumen Fund, Jacqueline Novogratz and Michelle Nunn, President and CEO of CARE USA. We lead the fight against inequality with words, like Tanzina Vega of CNN and Nikole Hannah-Jones at The New York Times. We are entrepreneurs like Sheila Marcelo, founder of, Carrie Sheffield, founder of BOLD Global Media and Monica Lozano, Chairman of the Aspen Institute Latinos and Society Program. We are also the future. Opportunity Leaders like Kimberly Pham, Anjonette Hall, Yulkendy Valdez and Melissa Pond are using their stories, their talent and innovation to make the country more equitable and just for all youth.

Our effort is collective and global. International Women’s Day has been observed since the early 1900’s and is about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – uniquely, this day is a way for us to recognize a global idea, yet celebrate at a local level however it might make sense for our community.

To recognize this day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, I want to lift up our Coalition organizations that elevate women in their work, their leadership and their contributions.

  • Strong Women, Strong Girls strives to support positive mentoring relationships between college women and pre-adolescent girls in underserved local communities. Their vision is that every girl realizes her inner strengths to dream and do.
  • The National Crittenton Foundation advances the self-empowerment, health, economic security and civic engagement of girls and young women impacted by violence, childhood adversity, and trauma.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America’s goal is to help all children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with volunteer mentors.
  • Got Your 6 believes that veterans are leaders, team builders and problem solvers who have the unique potential to lead a resurgence of community across the nation. In 2016, they elevated women veterans with their #shesbadass campaign.
Monique Rizer

Monique Rizer is the Executive Director of Opportunity Nation. Prior to this role, Monique served as Chief of Staff for Opportunity Nation's parent organization, Be The Change, Inc., a national nonprofit organization that creates issue-based campaigns designed to advance positive social change. Read Monique's Bio.

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