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Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner

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Mother's Day, Daughters & The Sisterhood of Spies

Posted: 05/08/11 02:21 AM ET

In a picture newly entered into my cell phone, my daughter--who's taken to wearing t-shirts proudly proclaiming herself to be a ninja--stands brightly smiling beside a green sign with "History's Surprising Sisterhood of Spies" written across the top in bold type. On the last stop of a multi-day tour of historical sights and museums with my daughter, it was finally at the International Spy Museum that women were showing up in a big way.

Kick butt, history shaping women spies, no less!

This grabbed our attention, particularly on Mother's Day weekend.

In fact it was downright delightful to have a moment with my daughter celebrating the strength, power, and skills of women spies who've helped shape history from the Revolutionary War through modern times on Mother's Day weekend. Aphra Behn, Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, Harriet Tubman, Mata Hari, Marguerite Harrison, Noor Inayat Khan, Eva Wu, and the list of covert heroines goes on.

But there's a catch: We'd just traipsed through all sorts of museums and too often seen the historical impact of women relegated to something along the lines of, "Behind every great man..."

It was finally in a spy museum about secret work that women were brought forward front and center.

Secret work.

That's right. Women have been secretly effective for a very long time. And now it's time for women and mothers to be in the spotlight in more places than spy museums.

This Mother's Day it's fitting that we all now take a moment--both inside and outside of spy museums--to celebrate just how very effective women today are raising kids, excelling at work, and tackling life.

The work of women and mothers shouldn't be secret.

So on Mother's Day, in order to put all moms in the spotlight, MomsRising has stepped up to the plate with a customizable movie trailer that people can use to celebrate all the moms in their lives and make them superstars for Mother's Day:

2011-05-08-Cloudsplay.jpg

(You can click the above video picture to customize a movie trailer for all the moms in your life to make them a star, or just go here: http://movies.cnnbcvideo.com/index2.php It's a great, quick gift for Mother's Day!)

That's right. On Mother's Day--and every day--moms in particular deserve to be celebrated as superstars.

Mother's Day is also a day to shine a bright light on the fact that times have changed, but many perceptions about women and mothers haven't yet been brought up to date. To say this is a big deal is an understatement. The vast majority of women in our nation are mothers - over 80% of women become mothers in the U.S. by the time they're forty-four years old. There are 83 million moms in America. Three-quarters of moms are now in the labor force, and most families now need two parents to make ends meet.

Modern women are highly effective powerhouses both as moms and at work, and their work should be celebrated, not hidden like covert actions. In fact, Pepperdine University did a nineteen year effectiveness study of Fortune 500 companies and found that companies with a record of promoting women outperformed the competition by anywhere from 41 to 116 percent.

And yet the effectiveness of women--particularly women who are mothers--is questioned so deeply in our nation that we see an impact in hiring and wage discrimination data. For instance, the U.S. Census still shows full-time working women making only 77 cents to every dollar made by men, with women of color experiencing increased wage hits.

Women who are moms face even deeper wage and hiring discrimination: A recent study found that when two equally qualified candidates -- one childless, one a mother -- applied for a job, the mother was 100 percent less likely to be hired. They were also offered $11,000 a year less pay, on average, than an equally qualified childless candidate.

Modern women are juggling an unprecedented number of roles at the same time, and are kicking butt; but public perceptions, as well as our paycheck fairness and work/family policies, haven't caught up to modern realities.

It's time to catch up.

The work moms do raising kids and raising our economy should no longer be secret work. The consequences of keeping this work secret, and not celebrated, in terms of wage hits and family economic insecurity is detrimental to us all.

On Mother's Day--and every day--it's time to celebrate ALL that moms are doing. Take a moment and think of all the superstar heroine tactics that the moms around you use every day:

  • Moms with bottomless purses full of instruments of distraction that James Bond would covet;
  • Moms who simultaneously text complex after-school plans to kids while running high powered work meetings and bringing in the dough;
  • Moms who drive faster and more strategically than Jason Bourne in order to pick up kids on time when meetings run late;
  • Moms who've breast pumped in locations so secret that the National Security Agency is still looking.

You know these moms. They're you, your mom, your friends, your neighbors.

They kick butt.

My daughter left the International Spy Museum saying, "Those women were powerful." I'm hoping that by the time she's old enough to bring her own ninja t-shirt wearing daughter on a museum tour, the power and effectiveness of women--and mothers--will be in the spotlight in more places than just spy museums.

Here's to making it happen together! Happy Mother's Day!


*You can start celebrating more moms and making them superstars this Mother's Day by customizing this movie trailer for all the moms in your life:

2011-05-08-Cloudsplay.jpg

(Click the above video picture to customize a movie trailer to make all the moms in your life be stars in their own movie, or just go here: http://movies.cnnbcvideo.com/index2.php )

 

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