March 8 – International Women’s Day
A spark was lit somewhere deep in my heart recently that I believe coincided with the #MeToo movement of the last few months. I suddenly had a deeper desire to understand. You see, we stay closed-minded to that which we do try not understand.
For the past few years of my life, I have been blessed to be surrounded by positive female influences – strong leaders, business owners, world changers. Many of these women have believed in me and given me the courage and desire to speak and do more with the gifts that God has given me. These experiences over the last few years have shaped me and my understanding of what’s possible for women both in the workforce and at home today. Last year on March 8, I joined hands with a group of women I admire greatly and went to work on a project that impacted people and helped them be greater. This was my current world. And the voice in my head was screaming, “We are equal! We can do just as much! We are doing it – just look at us!”
How quickly I forgot what the prior 10 years had been like. Or maybe even the 10 years prior to that – in both the workforce and in relationships.
I began my career in 1998 in the male dominated industry of public accounting, working 60 hour weeks during busy season and crying in bathrooms because I was talked down to and made to feel foolish for not understanding the intricate rules of Accounting.
Fast forward a couple of years to a male supervisor that talked daily of his extra-marital affair and open marriage to a group of young women that he oversaw, me included. A man whose ‘office talk’ and inappropriate behavior eventually got him fired.
Fast forward again a couple of years to the male boss that not only was fired, but for as much as I know, still sits in prison for his inappropriate behavior.
How could I forget all of this? Had I forgotten or just pushed it somewhere back in a deep corner, rarely spoken of?
I felt it was important to write about this because of these children that I am trying to raise up to be God loving, respectful & kind humans. They are each going to have their own stories, face inferiority at times in their lives, and hopefully rise stronger and more equipped. I feel it’s my job to begin to teach and equip them now, as children. One of the best ways to do that is by example.
I want to show my daughter that she can be all she dreams to be – maybe it’s a mother, maybe it’s a business owner, maybe it’s a hard working woman, maybe it’s all of the above – she’s worthy of all of that and more. May she know she has a voice that should be heard, that she never has to be silent. May she be brave enough to fight for what she believes in.
I want to teach my sons that women are their equal. I want our words and actions to show that we respect each other. I want them to believe that women have the same voice & influence that they possess.
For me, this isn’t just about teaching our daughters. It’s about teaching our sons.
I’ve been blessed by women like Nancy, Susanne, Doreen, Elizabeth & Judi (and so many more), who have given me a chance and shaped me with their wisdom and guidance. I was blessed by Anne back in 1998, when she helped open a door for me in the professional, male dominated world. Although it wasn’t my forever career, it played a big part in defining who I am today. I will never forget Anne telling me how she fought to get me that offer. I’m still so thankful today that she believed in me.
Women have paved the way for me on this journey of life, whether it be in the professional world or at home. So many of them – beginning with my own mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Strong women have helped me to become strong, even if only by their example. Just today, I heard from a friend that just left her daughter in London for 6 months, an ocean away, to pursue her dreams. What a strong woman that raised a strong woman. It’s an example like this that continues to shape me.
We will make mistakes on this journey. We will feel we aren’t getting it right a whole bunch of times. But as women, we must continue rise up. Speak. Not to be above any other woman or man, but to be on an equal playing field of opportunity and more importantly, respect.
Happy International Women’s Day – may you use your voice for good!