On Tuesday, I attended the Professional Business Women’s Conference in San Francisco. The thing that struck a chord with me most was this VIDEO (you have to watch it especially if you have a daughter, you really do!). It sent chills up and down my spine and made tears well up in my eyes (as I was sitting next to my boss and other co-workers, I tried to keep myself together).
The video is only words, nothing else. I am still thinking about it and wondering what kind of future my girls will have. I wonder if they will deal with the gender struggles that my generation deals with or if it will be easier for them. Will they chase their dreams and feel confident enough to go after them? Women still earn 77% to the dollar of what men earn. We hold far fewer positions of executive management positions than men.
Shortly after this video we heard the stories of 5 wonderful young women who will be heading off to college next year (UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, Loyola Marymount, etc..). They all faced obstacles and had to overcome many hurdles to educate themselves and persevere (poverty, death, tragedy and more). They were an inspiration to all 3000+ conference attendees.
Earlier in the day, we also listened to Jackie Speier, a Congresswoman from California. She was shot 5 times in her late 20’s in Africa and almost died, suffered miscarriages, lost her husband in a car accident when she was pregnant with her second child, and lost several political races before landing where she is today.
My perception of women who have achieved a lot in their careers is that they were born privileged, things came easy to them, they have easy lives, they are naturally smart, etc.. Yesterday was another data point, but one that finally stuck with me, that boy was I wrong. I never felt that I could be one of those powerful women. There is no way in hell I could ever match up. Whenever I am in meetings with high level executives, I never feel like I belong at the table with them.
I have always struggled to fit in. Middle school and high school were especially tough for me. I never felt that I what I did mattered and when I was successful at something, it was based on pure luck. College was a bit of a turning point for me, but it was still a struggle.
I NEVER want my girls to feel as though they did not deserve their accomplishments or feel they don’t measure up to their peers. I want them to be confident, stand up for themselves and most of all, believe in themselves. I know in order to so this, I need to be able to set an example for them. It’s time I make changes about what I feel I am capable of and go after my dreams, so they can feel empowered to achieve theirs.
How do I do this? I’m not sure, but I am going to figure it out! I have two little girls who are dependent on me and I don’t want to let them down.
Here another way to get to the video: