Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Letter of Thanks

"When unique voices are united in a common cause, they make history."  ~ Gloria Steinem

Several months ago, Andrew was thoughtful enough to tape the most amazing PBS special called, "Makers: Women Who Make America".  I have been watching bits of it each day while busting it on the treadmill.  It is quite long but so worth your time.  It details the social changes in America that brought women's equality to where it stands today focusing on the second-wave feminism which began in the 1960's.  In a word -- inspiring.

In the year 1963, Betty Friedman's "The Feminine Mystique" shook our culture to it's core.  Women at this time were expected to marry, have children and be content cooking and cleaning for their remaining days. What?!  This book challenged the facade of the happy homemaker of that time.  It was essential in shifting thoughts and creating dialogue which pushed toward the women's movement.  Betty later founded the National Organization for Women.

In 1967, a twenty year old Syracuse student was able to enter the Boston Marathon because she only provided her first initial and last name.  She ran alongside her boyfriend and coach simply because she wanted to run.  She never anticipated the chaos that would ensue because she dared run in a man's race. Her name is Kathrine Switzer and because of her bravery to finish the race for all women, we were able to be inspired by such amazing talents as Florence Griffith-Joyner or Lolo Jones.

My favorite story featured was that of Lorena Weeks.  She was a single mother and employee of Southern Bell.  Lorena sued her employer in 1966 because she was declined a higher paying position solely because she was a woman. The thought was a woman couldn't lift anything over 30lbs. As Weeks herself put it, "...a baby at some point can weigh over 30 lbs."  This absurd reasoning finally won Lorena the case. The victory of this case helped to allow women to earn their own living.

We have always told our girls they can do/be anything they set their minds to.  They can accomplish anything a man can.  The only difference is a man is physically stronger while a woman has the ability to carry and feed a child.  I will choose to be a woman every..single..time.  This is in no way a slam against men.  I happen to love a man very much.  The message here is simply that men and women are equal - in every way and should be treated as such.

There are so many brave women mentioned, that I couldn't possibly do them all justice.  You have to watch the program yourself.  I promise you will leave it feeling gratitude, awe and inspiration to pursue your own dreams.  So, this is my letter of thanks to the many women who through courage, persistence and determination, made it possible for me to live my dream and have my own business.  They fought to have equal rights in politics, business and home.  They marched forward knowing it was the right thing to do even when it wasn't the popular thing to do. Hillary Clinton recently stated that equal rights for women was "the unfinished business of the 21st century".  I agree completely but am hopeful it is getting better for my daughters and generations to come.

Have the best day ever!

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