Who in your life do you respect and admire because they let their voice be heard? A female role model that you idolize because their perseverance has paved the way for you? It may be Princess Diana, Ellen or Mother Theresa. But what about those ones we don't hear about, our unsung female heroes? What about the ladies who stood tall and let their voices be heard by speaking out and by their actions? Ensuring a brighter future for their daughters, granddaughters and other women who aren't sure what their voice sounds like, so that a time would come for them to have their voices heard?
My grandmother is one of the women we have to thank for how far we've come in our careers, our parenting and changing the rules of the game. She challenged society in a time when every choice she made was frowned upon and because of that became a 'black sheep' in her community. She broke all the rules!
She came from a good family and had a strong family bond with her three siblings. She was the product of loving, hardworking parents who owned their own business. Then one day, she married someone that turned out to be -- the female-thinking wants me to use the term 'not a nice person' -- but in fact he was a criminal. She now found herself stuck. Stuck in a marriage that she couldn't get out of because she signed on the dotted line for 'better or worse.' To top it off, she was now the mother of three young boys.
Feeling alone and frightened for her future, she pressed on until one day, her father simply asked her a question. That moment, she knew she had to make a stand for herself and for her boys that would take her into years of hardship and resistance. She would have to work harder than she ever had and would need the determination to do the right thing, going against the way she was taught and against society at large. At that time, there were little to no accessible resources for assistance. No available counseling, no child support, no networks of support women.
She left her husband, raised her three boys, and built a career, all as a divorced woman. In the evenings she went to school to get her degree. She became a teacher, worked full-time and never missed a day of work. Her three boys grew up to be great men with families of their own.
She didn't know what her future held, and she didn't even know if she would make it out of the house alive with those teenage boys! She constantly hit roadblocks, going against all odds, yet she did it. She held her head high and did what was right. She paved a nice path for women around her who watched all that she accomplished.
Grams didn't have daughters of her own and now proudly watches me, her granddaughter, standing tall and doing what's right, making moves to pave the way for my own daughters. By doing this, I carry on her legacy while she watches and enjoys.
She has built her strength and has the character of a champion. She is one of many great pioneering women who had suffered in silence but by their actions led the way for the opportunity to not allow us to suffer in silence anymore. She is one of the reasons we have resources and support groups.
To this very day she is intelligent, witty and a no-BS lady. Surrounded by her peers, she is still a fierce leader, the one who isn't afraid to speak up, or take the lead while everyone around her sits in silence. That day my grandmother decided to take a stand, she decided to sit at the table and continues to encourage others do so as well!
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