Cecilia Boone: Fighting for Gender Equity Every Single Day

Cecilia and Garrett Boone

If you can see it, you can be it.

I know that this is true, because it happened to me.

I saw my mother, Marie Keene Guthrie, raise three young children on her own after the death of my father. She had a high school diploma, a graduation certificate from a secretarial school, a family to support, and a whole lot of pride.

I saw her become the first woman to be elected to a countywide office in Kentucky. But even with that accomplishment, I saw how she was treated differently. She worked in a man’s world of lawyers and judges where too often she was dismissed, regarded not as a colleague but as a secretary.

I saw her struggle and her determination. I saw the obstacles she faced and the challenges she met because she was a woman.

I saw all of these things as a child, but I did not actually understand them until I was an adult. I didn’t understand until, as a young professional working for IBM, I experienced the completely unconscious bias that management had against women moving ahead in jobs traditionally held by men. The condescension and the patronizing attitudes were exactly what my mother had experienced, but I had the voices of Gloria Steinem and other 60s and 70s feminists ringing in my ears. I didn’t want to just talk about feminism; I wanted to actively transform the spaces where I lived and worked into places where gender equity was the norm.

My mother inspired my lifelong commitment to actively fight for gender equity, my personal experiences fueled that need, and the choir of women speaking up through those early years taught me that nothing will be given to us — we have to demand our rights.

Over the span of my career, I have stayed passionate about this issue and actively involved with organizations that are working to close the gender gap. I served as the Board Chair of the North Texas affiliate of Planned Parenthood in the early 2000s and became Board Chair of the National Board a few years ago. I’ve also chaired boards for Girls Inc of North Texas, the Dallas Women’s Foundation, and Annie’s List.

I have never stopped believing in the words of the powerful feminists who paved the way. I continue to fight for gender equity every single day. That’s why I am a GenderAvenger.

We know from history that the evolution of gender roles is glacially slow. GenderAvenger offers a way to call out people and organizations publicly so that together we can accelerate the pace of change with a loud public voice. Their work addresses the basic issue:

If you can't SEE it, you can't BE it.

Gloria Steinem said that "When unique voices are united in a common cause, they make history.” Join me and add your voice to this movement of GenderAvengers. Let's make history together.

Cecilia Boone

Cecilia Guthrie Boone, born in Kentucky, worked for IBM in Indiana, Ohio and Texas. In Texas she met and married her husband, Garrett.  With other partners, they began their fledgling business, The Container Store, in 1978.  They have three adult children.

Cecilia has focused both her volunteer work and philanthropy on the issues that most effect women and girls. She is the past chair of the Dallas Women’s Foundation, Girls Inc. of Metropolitan Dallas, Planned Parenthood of North Texas, Planned Parenthood of North Texas Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Annie’s List. Cecilia is on the board of the Boone Family Foundation and is a member of several other community organizations in the Dallas area.

Cecilia is a retired adjunct professor at The Center of Philanthropy and has received awards for her work on gender equity from Planned Parenthood, Women’s e-news, the League of Women Voters, and many local organizations.