Today is International Women’s Day. And as a writer who focuses on women in the throes of reinvention in midlife, pressing for progress is in everything I write and say.
People talk about what it takes to help further drive gender parity. How we need to press for progress in education, in the workplace, in home life, in our families. There is still work to be done. A lot of work.
But we’ve come a long way. And I think it’s important to reflect on that too as we continue to improve our world.
Women couldn’t vote until 1920.
Women could legally be paid different wages than men up until 1963.
Women couldn’t be acknowledged as a participant in the Boston Marathon until 1972.
Women weren’t allowed to serve on juries in all 50 states until 1973.
Women couldn’t apply for credit before 1974.
Women could be fired from their jobs prior to 1978.
Women couldn’t sign for a business loan until 1988. (Not without a male cosigner.)
These rules impacted you, your mother, or your grandmother, depending on your age.
In my own family, women have come a long way in just three generations.
My grandmother had an eighth-grade education. She quit to help out on the family farm after her mother died at an early age.
My mother graduated high school and attended secretarial school instead of college. Her parents told her she’d just get married and have babies anyway. Why spend the money on education? (I don’t look poorly at this. It was simply a sign of the times.)
I was pushed from the time I was a little girl. My mother taught me that I would have a degree and be able to stand on my own two feet. I received my Master’s degree before the age of 30.
But even then, I was directed to “women appropriate” fields. I was told education was a great career choice because I would have summers off with my kids. I forged my own path and have degrees in business finance and management.
Strong women are the only way we can move forward and #PressForProgress. We’re the backbone of families. If we’re strong, society is strong.
That’s why I support foundations that help women be better within their communities.
Like the Whole Planet Foundation that provides microentrepreneurs living in poverty around the globe and in the US, UK, and Canada with loans to help them build strong lives.
And Kiva, an organization that helps fund people all over the world to advance themselves and improves their communities. You can help fund small business, or reach out and help pay educational fees for underprivileged and marginalized students.
Or Women for Women International. This fabulous organization allows you to sponsor a woman and help her with business and vocational skills, training, rights awareness, and health education.
Life isn’t as bad as we seem to think it is. When we focus on the bad, we get more bad in return. Focus on the good and amazing things can happen.
Peter Diamandis has a graph on living in absolute poverty. In the last 30 years, the share of the global population living in absolute poverty has decreased from 53 percent to under 17 percent. That’s huge!
What I do:
I donate to causes that help make this world a stronger, better place for women.
I’m heavily vested in advancing education for everyone.
I write about women of every age taking charge of their lives and doing what’s in their hearts to do.
Happy International Women’s Day. Let’s work hard, and #PressForProgress so there comes a time when we no longer need to distinguish a need for International Women’s Day.
Because it’s every day. Equal. Side by side.