Mom: one person who does the work of twenty for free; strength; unconditional love.
It wasn’t until I became a mother to a daughter that it really hit me how strong and forward-thinking my own mother was. At the time, she made it all seem so “normal”.
A stereotypical 1970’s Mom, my mother stayed home with four kids making Kool-Aid and devoting 100% of herself to us. But, as we grew, so did she. I was finishing elementary school when my mother went back to school to become a bookkeeper, and I remember her bringing home A after A on her assignments. At the time, I was actually annoyed because that meant I should be getting A’s too. I can still hear her, “If I can do it, so can you!”
She eventually went to work as a civilian bookkeeper on a Canadian Air Force Base. She did so during a time that women were fighting for equality in the workforce. On the base, men were being paid more than women for the same jobs, and when offices needed downsizing, it was the women being laid off first. Rather than sit quietly, my mother got out there and fought for equality! She stood in picket lines demanding equal pay, had a letter published in the paper talking about equality, and helped organize a sit-out where women in town refused to shop at any local business that did not stand behind and support them. My mother even went so far as to wear a pink slip over her clothing to protest more women losing jobs than men.
When you ask Mom about all this, she acts like it’s no big deal, like it was something anyone would do. That’s the part I love the most. To her, a woman fighting to be considered equal is just what we need to do.
I have never once in my life thought a man could do more than me or deserved more than me, simply because of my genetic makeup, and now I see those same qualities in my own daughter when she spends her Saturdays at the skatepark and brings home honor roll grades in STEM. Today’s little girls are growing up with no limits and big dreams, all because of women like my Mother.
Thank you, Mom, for everything you’ve done – for me and for women.
As International Women’s Day 2021 approaches, I find myself drawn more and more to the stories of women like my mother who continue to fight for women’s equality and devote so much of themselves to empower other women. I hope you’ll join me and my colleagues on March 4, 2021 for a panel discussion with female leaders as we celebrate and uplift one another. Click the image below to register!