Today is International Women's Day and a good time to reflect on our own accomplishments as women (and for many of us mothers) as well as the women who inspire us. For myself, it's hard not to get caught up in the day to day feeling of being "not enough" so frequently. That feeling that many of us have that we aren't enough for our children, our partners, our jobs, our contributions to housework, our (lack of) contributions to women and children causes across the globe... the list goes on.
But today I will be proud of my accomplishments - as well as recognizing the accomplishments of all women - specifically a few of the amazing women who are either out there today making a difference for women across the world, have made a difference in my life or who helped get us where we are today.
It was of course incredibly hard to choose just a few of the millions of amazing women that accomplished so much and advanced women's rights but here are my 5 (+1) Amazing Women to Recognize today:
1. Malala Yousafzai - Yousafzai is an international voice and symbol of strength and determination. Born in Pakistan, she started advocating at a young age for education for girls and paid for it by being the target of a brutal attack in which she was shot in the face in 2012 as she walked home from school. She survived the attack and continues to speak out for her cause and in 2014 she became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
2. Maya Angelou - The world lost this amazing woman last year at the age of 86 when she passed away on May 28th 2014. She was a prolific writer who gave voice to women, particularly women of color. Her first autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969) was a coming of age story that brought her international acclaim. RIP, Miss Angelou
3. Frances Perkins - As all the women from my generation in America know from the movie Dirty Dancing - Frances was the first woman to become a member of the Presidential Cabinet in 1933. She served as Secretary of Labor under FDR and as Secretary helped to establish the Social Security Act, many child labor laws, the minimum wage and countless other rights that have helped workers in American for the past 80 years. (We actually share the name Frances as it is my middle name - though technically she was born Fannie and changed it later.)
4. Emma Watson - Watson is an amazing role model for young people across the globe and uses her fame as an actress to push for equality for women across the world. Her speech for the #HeForShe campaign was inspired, and she continues to clear up the misconceptions about what it means to be a Feminist.
5. My Mother - My mother has overcome obstacles and challenges that - because of her - I have never had to face. She was fiercely protective of her children and a strong advocate for us - especially my sister and me as girls and women. She taught us to work hard and love even harder. It is because of her that I never gave up on getting my degrees or set limits on myself in my career. And it is because of her that I always knew that I would be a good mom who loved my kids with all my heart. It's also a very high bar to live up to sometimes but having that bar as a model pushes me to work harder and love even harder every day.
|Me and my Mom after seeing Hillary Clinton speak in 2014.|
+1 Me - Yes, I need to take a moment to recognize my own accomplishments and you should too. Take a moment to take stock in what you've done up to this point in your life - whether it has been in your schooling, your career, your family and children, your activism or your perseverance in the face of challenges you are presented.
I am proud of who I am and of being a woman.... now a mother as well. I have worked hard to earn my two degrees, much of it I did over 8 years of working full time as well. I started as a temp at my company over 12 years ago and have advanced through 7 different positions climbing through the ranks to being a Manager of Analytics where I am valued for my mind and intelligence in a male dominated field. I worked hard to establish myself as an independent woman buying my own house as a single woman 5 years ago. I work to be a good partner and while I am not much of a homemaker I don't think that I need to be in order to be a good wife. I am now the mother of a 2 year old and that makes me one of the millions of working mothers that work to balance the demands of a job outside the home and raising a family. I am also a breastfeeding mother who pumped at work until my son was 14 months old, which is no small feat! And now I've ventured into the world of blogging about my life as an imperfect mother who is trying her best to balance all of these things.
We still have a long way to go as we all know that true equality is still far away. The theme of this year's International Women's Day is "Make It Happen." To the women who have come before us and those of you out there right now working to Make It Happen, THANK YOU.