Women in the Rogue Valley; success stories and continued strides

Medford, Ore. —   International Women’s Day takes place every March 8th, as an opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, while recognizing the work still to be done.

NBC5 News looks at the impact local women are making in the valley, and the steps some are taking to bring about continued progress.

“I think a lot of women don’t take the risk and don’t jump out because it really is scary, and what if I do fail what will people think?,” Lu Crenshaw, co-founder of Camp 17 says.

According to a 2016 report of The State of Women-Owned Businesses, women make up 38% of business owners in the US. Lu Crenshaw and Shantell Dayton are 2 of them.

“I don’t really think of it as ‘oh I’m a women in business in the Rogue Valley'” Crenshaw says, “but when you just step in to what you were created to do it’s really awesome, it’s really fun and I get to do it with my best friend and that’s even more fun.”

The duo run Camp 17, where they hold 6 week wellness camps throughout the year.

“We kick and punch,” Camp 17 co-founder Shantell Dayton says, “we run, we jump, we lift.”

“We’re really training the body but we’re also training the heart and the mind and the emotions,” Crenshaw adds.

Their business model is built around empowering and encouraging women to pursue whatever goals they have. For them, the only barriers they face, are the ones they pay attention to.

“You just don’t hear the negative stuff if you’re focused on your goal and your vision and what you want your business to do,” Dayton says.

But challenges do exist.

“Pay equity,” Claudia Alick of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival says “women do not get paid equitably in the United States.”

That’s why the folks at Oregon Shakespeare Festival are shining a light on the issues.

“We’ve got these beautiful ‘Shout Out for Women’ walls  where we are listing the names of women who have inspired us and give us passion and power,” Alick says.

And while they aren’t taking the day off, the organization is addressing the significance prior to its shows.

“Trying to inspire them to action and really honor and acknowledge this day,” Mica Cole of OSF says.

“As the years have passed we have more women playwrights,  we have more women directors,” Alick adds, “there is still not equity, but we’re doing better.”

There are several events coming up to showcase women both in business and leadership including the  Entrepreneur Expo and the Women’s Leadership Conference.

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