This semester I have the privilege of interning at Momentum in Birmingham. According to its website, Momentum is Alabama’s premier women’s leadership program which empowers a diverse group of promising women to develop leadership skills that positively impact business, culture and politics in Alabama (check out their website here: momentumleaders.org). I took the position at Momentum because I wanted to be surrounded by empowered women who know what it takes exercise leadership in a male-dominated field. My internship is opening my eyes to the strengths and challenges of being a driven woman in today’s world.
I’ve never labeled myself as an out-spoken feminist. I’m not one to write an entire blog post dedicated to International Women’s Day. I’ve stayed silent because I never wanted to step on anyone’s toes. However, as I grow into my role as a young woman, I feel that it is necessary for me to celebrate all that the role encompasses. So, here’s some of my thoughts today, on International Women’s Day.
- Through my research for Momentum, I have realized how far women have come in a short amount of time in regards to rights and equality within the workplace. There is still progress to be made, sure, but the progress that has been made is worth celebrating. Did you know that this is only the 30th year that National Women’s History Month has been celebrated? It wasn’t until the 60s and 70s that women began to realize that their voice throughout history had been drowned. Our voice has been uncovered, and it is louder than ever. Let’s celebrate that and keep pushing forward.
- I don’t believe gender roles are interchangeable. I think each role, male and female, brings unique, God-given strengths and weaknesses to the table. I don’t believe this calls for women to be stifled. I view womanhood as a beautiful, empowering, nurturing thing. I want to grow into being just that: capable, equipped, and compassionate- living a life worthy of my calling (Ephesians 4:1).
- Finally, I want to honor the women in my life that have nurtured me into who I’ve become. My mom, my sister, my grandmothers, step-mother, aunts, cousins, teachers, pastors, mentors, friends, even historical figures… Thank you for giving me footsteps to follow in. As Dr. Andy Westmoreland says, we sit in the shade of trees we did not plant. Today I thought about standing next to Mary Wollstonecraft’s grave in London during the summer. Mary Wollstonecraft wrote A Vindication on the Rights of Women in 1792. She argued for educational reform for women so that they could become more than tyrant housewives. On International Women’s Day 2017, I sit in the shade of Mary Wollstonecraft’s seed that was planted through beautifully written words in 1792, as well as the women that came after her, both in big and small roles, to pave the way for the present time. I am excited and expectant for a future where I can positively influence the world as a woman, for other women. Today, and every day, I am honored to be a woman. I will not shy away from that, I will embrace it, and I won’t take the freedom I have for granted.
I’d like to conclude this post with Eleanor Roosevelt’s nightly prayer. To me, Eleanor Roosevelt is an inspiring historical figure and I could not better sum up all that I hope to accomplish in this life:
Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life.
Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far off goals. Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength.
Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world.
Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them.
Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of the world made new.