Aug 27, 2012 07:58 AM WV State of Mind
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Women’s Equality Day
''I always feel the movement is a sort of mosaic. Each of us puts in one little stone, and then you get a great mosaic at the end.'' —Suffragist Alice Paul
I have to tell you what my son asked me this past Wednesday. “When did all that stupid stuff about boys and girls not being equal start? I don’t get it,” he said. He is nine years old.
My son’s comment makes me very proud—proud of how far we’ve come as a nation. Proud as a parent—maybe I’m doing something right, after all. And hopeful. Hopeful that in the future, we won’t still be discussing that women make 77 cents for every dollar that a man earns, the lack of women CEOs in Fortune 500 companies, or the low numbers of women serving in Congress.
Yesterday we celebrated Women’s Equality Day—92 years ago women won the right to vote. And although that historic day is worthy of celebrating—it is much bigger than a single day. We need to celebrate the movement—the 72 years it took to finally accomplish the goal of women’s equality. This momentous occasion makes me think about, reflect, and appreciate that I wouldn’t own my own business if it hadn’t been for a determined group of forward thinking women. So, in honor of women’s suffrage, I’m sharing my observations and thoughts about what we can learn from this historic movement.
1. Be passionate. Find your passion. You have to believe in what you are doing. Enthusiasm needs to ooze from your pores. Because if you aren’t excited about what you are doing, the product you are selling, or the organization you are representing, who else will be?
2. Be bold and be persistent. The right for women to vote was a bold mission, and it was first proposed in 1848. It took 72 years to get it passed as an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. If that isn’t persistence, I don’t know what is.
3. There are always mountains beyond mountains. Women’s rights advocates had many challenges and obstacles. We West Virginians know there are always mountains beyond mountains. But we know how to navigate them. We go over them, around them, or tunnel our way through them. Once we climb a mountain, we may find ourselves in a beautiful valley, but guess what? There are always more mountains on the horizon. But the view from the top is spectacular—and it’s a view that few get to see because they give up. They believe the naysayers.
I think about the women who marched on Washington, and I can’t help but think, when they finally cast their first vote, how spectacular that view must have been. But I’m pretty confident they also saw in the distance that their journey wasn’t over—they had more mountains yet to climb.
4. Have a mission. The fourth thing I think we can learn from the women’s suffrage movement—have a clear mission. Having a clear mission helps us sustain our passion.
5. Be involved in our communities. Maybe this is the greatest legacy of all from the women’s suffrage movement—what they created was a grassroots movement that changed discourse, changed politics, and changed communities. We must be involved in our communities. Living local isn’t a lifestyle. It is a responsibility.
6. Mentor other women. The movement that led to women winning the right to vote was a movement of mentorship. We must seek mentors and mentor others because we are all part of the legacy. By mentoring others we continue the mosaic.