Mary Ciampa:
Why I started WomenX

I am working to invest in women because it makes good business sense.

$ 1 Trillion could be added to the United States GDP (Gross Domestic Product) each year if there was gender parity in the labor force ( 2017 Citi report ).

Some kids built cities with legos. Others played house with dolls. I played business owner with my clip board and walkie talkies to check with my friends who were counting inventory in our pretend store. Not much later, my mom paid me $1 for every window I washed in our house. Instead of taking on the task alone, I hired my friends, paying them .50 for every window they washed along side of me. I grew from a curious kid into a curious adult who never stopped asking the questions, “why, how and how come?”.

Always fascinated by technology, remembering the day our family bought our first Video Cassette Recorder and the first days of Motorola’s brick phone, I dreamed of starting a technology company. In 1997, I did just that, a company called Plumb Design (now Thinkmap). One of our first clients and investors was Motorola!

Raised by a single mother who dedicated herself to social work. She worked long hours while getting her PHD. Struggling to get by and to give me and my two brothers what we needed, she worked until she dropped, physically and mentally.

​Why did she do all of this? Because this is what is expected of women. Care for your children, your partner (if you have one), work and advance your career with more education. This is what women do to get by and work towards equality.

Except equality is not realized. Women burn out, get sick and give up.

Women are expected to do it all. Even today, working women spend double the amount of time men do on unpaid work. In the best cases, women are doing 271 minutes per day of unpaid work vs 138 minutes of unpaid work done by men.

Work all day, do double the amount of unpaid work and be paid .70 on the dollar to every man! This is the deal that women are given and as a business person, this is a deal I will not take. No man would take it and why should they?

Society does not have the same expectations for women as they do for men. Our desire may be the same: fall in love, have a family and meaningful career and enjoy each day. This is not possible in today’s world.

1920: 19th amendment passed giving women the right to vote

1923: Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was proposed and states that the right guaranteed by the Constitution apply equally to all persons regardless of their sex. It has yet to pass.

1972: Title IX passed requiring gender equality for boys and girls in every education program that receives federal funding.

1973: Roe v. Wade landmark Supreme Court decision established a women’s legal right to an abortion

1982: Equal Rights Amendment was NOT passed—it was ratified by only 35 states, three states short of the 38 required to put it into the Constitution. The ERA has been introduced into every Congress since the deadline.

Not knowing about my dyslexia until we diagnosed my son at the age of 9, I did not grow a love for learning until college, where I attended Northeastern University, a college that valued practical learning. In this 5 year program, I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Science and two years of work experience with companies like Smartfoods Popcorn, Bankers Trust and Bull Computers in Paris.

My education catapulted my career and fed my passion for business. With a strong education and a strong mother’s words in my head telling me that anything is possible, I was determined to realize my dreams.

Education is expensive. The wealth gap is growing. Yet, colleges have started to address this by creating online programs that allow those who can not afford the traditional on campus program, opportunities to learn online. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are now being offered for free along with online programs that are often one third the cost of traditional on campus classes. The opportunities are growing for women. I believe that can help women obtain the education they need to realize their dreams as I was able to realize mine.