International Women’s Day: What It Means To Me

Today is International Women’s Day. I found this video by GOOGLE a very good explanation of their logo graphic today.

I’m not going to lie, I didn’t know it was a day until I got on Facebook this morning and saw many of my friends had posted comments and links about celebrating the day. I even found an article that gave 10 ways to celebrate.

When I read it, I got to thinking about how I wouldn’t likely do any of those things to celebrate. But I also got to thinking about what it means to be a woman and how so many women before me haven’t had the same lifestyle. I know many women choose to stay home and raise their children. In fact, I know a lot of women whom I respect dearly and admire, have stayed home. Truth is, it may not be for everyone, and it may change. At this moment in my life I know I am focused on my career. But I am learning that sometimes the focus changes in life. Either way I am proud to be a working woman and I recognize the challenges that may come with that. I have a passion for storytelling and that may change and mold into something else.

One woman in my life who is a perfect example of this is my very own mother. When I was born she worked as a hair stylist. She did this for years and then we moved to Cedar Rapids. For about a year she stayed at home with us, which I we loved. But then she felt the desire to go back to work. Briefly she sold make up and jewelry. But soon she had a desire to go back to school for something she’d never imagined: criminal justice. It turns out, during her time at home she spent a lot of time reading true crime books. She started at community college, attended Mount Mercy and went on to get her masters degree. All the while she was a mom, student and cancer patient. She was proof that you can do it all but it’s not easy. And I guess that is why she is my hero. She has learned to balance her love and passion for her family with her love and passion for her career. All the while living with purpose and setting and example for her daughters.

As for females in the workplace…as a female who works in news and sports I have felt first hand what it’s like to be a woman in a “man’s world”. It’s definitely an uphill battle. That being said I now work in a newsroom with a female boss. So all theories are out the window. And I enjoy the female leadership.

As far as me and my career, it will be a struggle. In a society that has always told women they are supposed to stay home and care for their children, it’s rare that you see women last very long in our business. When we all start having kids and want to spend time with family, it quickly becomes a matter of choosing between the two. Unfortunately that is not the case for men. In our newsroom alone, the men all have wives who are the primary caretaker. In the course of 30 years we’ve had the same male co-anchor and three female co-anchors. Same goes for Cedar Rapids/Waterloo TV. Male anchors stay, female anchors go. Many of them left on their own, some left because they were forced out. But sometimes I believe that it was truly that the women were force out by the culture and expectations placed on women. It’s a tough world out there. I keep reminding myself that leaving the business isn’t failure, it’s a change of direction (should I choose to do so…or be forced out). Besides…when I think about how we are all here to do God’s work, I often wonder where he’ll lead me.

At the end of the day, today is just a reminder of how far society has come. Women now work.

As I type this at work, I find myself saying ‘thank you’ to all the women who’ve paved the way for people like me.

Keep on paving!