As a freshman at the University of Florida (Go Gators!), I experienced the final days of curfew for women students on campus in the spring of 1968. Before its demise, there were strange practices like “panty raids†in the dorms where we actually threw underwear out the windows to the anxious throbs of handsome young men below! It all seems so quaint now, doesn’t it?

I was surprised and thrilled during the Oscars when Patricia Arquette, winner of Best Supporting Actress for her role in Boyhood, delivered an unabashedly pro-women statement as part of her acceptance speech. “We have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,†she said. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.â€

In not quite the same spirit, I am proud to announce that Speakout, Inc., has joined the ranks of certified
women business enterprises, affiliating with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, (WBENC). After satisfying a huge list of requirements, our new designation means that certain companies with goals of doing business with women-owned and minority-owned enterprises will now consider hiring us.

Once certified, you have to fill out forms online to become a possible vendor with each individual company, and then, the usual effort to find a real and personal connection begins. I’ll keep you posted and welcome any introductions you may have.

While I am truly excited about the opportunity to establish a working relationship with these highly successful companies and their top executives, part of me wonders why this kind of certification is still necessary for women in 2015. We’ve come a long way in many respects, for which I remain grateful and also proud, but in others?