I’ve had the remarkable opportunity to participate in two events this week that were scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day and with Women’s History Month (March). And it struck me today as I read post after post on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Reddit about how to celebrate today, that this day is about all of us as women. It celebrates women who have bucked the status quo to remove the glass ceiling and create new opportunities for women. It is about those who have fought for women to have the same civil liberties as men. It is to recognize the contributions that women have made across a wide span on industries and companies. And it is also to celebrate the very meaningful work that women do as part of raising society, of bringing up the next generation.
Both of the events I attended focused on my career and on the work I have done in the community, and I am so very honored to have been a part of those. I recently discovered that several of my former colleagues within the writing industry had actually taken bets on how long it would take me to fail when I was audacious enough to think I could create a tech company coming from a background that didn’t seem like a good fit. (This certainly explains the lack of press our company got when I first launched.) And I’m not offended by this – it’s actually amusing, because the company has outlived the length of all of their bets. And as I’ve spent the past week celebrating these accomplishments, I’ve been both humbled and encouraged to press boldly into the future with the amazing team we’ve assembled at APPCityLife.
And while no one has ever given me an award or written a news story about the job I’ve done as a mother, I am every bit as proud of the time I’ve spent caring for my family and raising my children. I spent part of my afternoon today riding along with my twenty-year-old son, and as we talked about interesting articles he’d read, about ideas he is formulating for his future, and even about the weather, my heart filled with joy that this grown man still wanted to share his ideas and his life with me. I love being a mother and the privilege it has given me to get to know each of my three children as they’ve matured and become individuals that I am so proud of.
And so on this day, International Women’s Day, I am celebrating the contributions of women from every walk of life. I am also reminded of the tremendous responsibility that all of us have to elevate the standard of living, the opportunities for education, the freedom and equal rights of women around the globe who are still raising the next generation of children despite tremendous barriers, disadvantages and sometimes horrific conditions. For those of us who have had the opportunities to spend our days and energy pushing the boundaries further forward, we need to remember our responsibility to those who have yet to taste of the opportunities we currently enjoy.
I am reminded of my great grandmother, who was one of the toughest women I’ve known. She homesteaded land in the Southwest in the middle of the Dust Bowl, often living alone for months on end while her husband was away. When she was in her eighties and not able to walk very well, I was still a little girl and loved to sit and play games with her. When I was losing, if I started to cry, she would say, “Oh, boo hoo. You can cry and feel sorry for yourself and lose anyway, or you can dry your tears, get mad and decide you’re going to try harder than last time to beat me.” Those were pretty tough words to hear for such a little girl, but my great grandmother understood the value of teaching a little girl how to be tough, to fight harder, to push forward despite feeling overwhelmed, sad, and beaten. She lived in a time and place that gave her no special exceptions for being a woman, and she learned how to survive and thrive and define her own life in the midst of it all.
If you have a woman in your life who has helped you grow, have the courage to try something new, or has made you into a better person because of their influence, take time to thank them. If you are a woman, celebrate your accomplishments and contributions to those around you. Whether you are changing an industry or a diaper, your work matters. Take pride in what you do, and do it well. Be bold, be courageous and challenge yourself to be better with every day – not only for your sake but for those whom you influence.
In keeping with my advice to others, I am learning to take pride in my accomplishments and celebrate them. I am so proud to have been named not only a 2014 Women In Tech Honoree but also a 2014 NM Women of Influence Honoree. Here is some press on those two honors: