Stacia Jones | The 2022 MAKERS Conference

Stacia Jones at the 2022 MAKERS Conference.

Video Transcript

- Please welcome Stacia Jones.

STACIA JONES: Constance Baker Motley. She was a Black woman who was born during the Jim Crow era. She was a lawyer, a politician, she was a judge. She litigated hundreds of civil rights cases, was a member of the team that fought and won Brown versus Board of Education, the landmark 1954 decision that desegregated public schools. She was the first Black woman to argue before the United States Supreme Court. She had 10 arguments there and she won all but one of those arguments.

She was the first woman who was elected Manhattan Borough President, the first Black woman who was elected to the New York State Senate. Constance was then the first Black woman who was appointed as a judge to the federal bench. And even with that impressive career, Judge Motley suffered difficulties and questioning of her abilities and skills throughout her career because of her race and because of her gender. When she practiced law, she earned less than men she outranked. She was passed over for a leadership position.

Once when she showed up for a scheduled interview at an all-White law firm, she was denied that interview. She then interviewed at another organization, and a male lawyer reportedly told her or asked her to climb up a ladder so that he could check out her legs and her feminine form. When she was nominated to the federal bench, a White woman lawyer wrote to President Johnson, arguing that the federal bench had been reserved for legal scholars, for men of outstanding abilities, and that in her opinion, Constance wasn't in the same league, was inexperienced and undistinguished.

In her book, "The Civil Rights Queen," author Tamiko Brown-Nagin argues persuasively that Judge Motley is an unsung hero of the Civil Rights movement, her accomplishments overshadowed by those of men who had achieved far less. Judge Motley's career was decades ago, and yet what she experienced-- the difficulties, the questioning of her abilities-- we continue to see today. At Lululemon, we understand that those who identify as women face distinct barriers in their careers, even more so for women who exist at the intersection of gender and racialized or other marginalized identities.

And not only do we recognize that these barriers exist, Lululemon is resolved to eradicate those barriers by creating new pathways for the thousands of women who will come through the Lululemon collective. We are proud that our workforce is 75% women. Our senior leadership team is 70% women. Our people managers are 70% women. Our board of directors is 50% women. And on top of all of that, we have achieved gender pay equity globally five years in a row.


And we are not stopping there. We want to empower women. We want to support women so that no woman is ever denied the opportunities that her efforts merit. And so I am proud that we are rolling out a new initiative for our Lululemon collective called "Women Of." Through Women Of, we will remove barriers. We will enable success, and we will celebrate all women, especially those from racially and ethnically diverse backgrounds. Launching in 2023, Women Of will elevate the experience of our Women Of. We'll support the colleagues, the leaders and those who report into our Women Of.

We will have allyship just supporting our women across our collective. Each of our women will have their own mentor and their own coach, and we will have company-wide cohorts of women who will embark on empowerment journeys. And this is just the beginning. For the corporations that are represented through you and I here today, and for those corporations that are not in the room, there is a call. There is a call from our employees, from our guests, from society at large. And that call is to wake up to the inequalities in our workplaces, to wake up an action through our corporate responsibility to drive equity and to drive change, and to wake up and leverage our spheres of influence to transform our workplaces and to level the playing field.

And if our corporations are doing these things, and if they are doing them every day and in every way that they can, we will be a part of a radical transformation that will allow women to be their most brilliant, amazing selves. It is through our advocacy and it is through our action that the future Constance Baker Motleys will rise to have their fullest impact on the world. They will sing their songs, and they will not again be unsung. Thank you.