"Throughout our Nation's history, American women have led movements for social and economic justice, made groundbreaking scientific discoveries, enriched our culture with stunning works of art and literature, and charted bold directions in our foreign policy. They have served our country with valor, from the battlefields of the Revolutionary War to the deserts of Iraq and mountains of Afghanistan. During Women's History Month, we recognize the victories, struggles, and stories of the women who have made our country what it is today." -President Barak Obama
The First Lady of Civil Rights, Rosa Parks is best known for refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man. Sacagawea, a Lemhi Shoshone Native American woman, traveled with Lewis and Clark as interpreter and guide. Clara Barton, Civil War nurse, founded the American Red Cross. Gloria Steinem is a journalist and author best known for her lifelong endeavors towards achieving equality for women in the workplace, in politics and in all other societal aspects. Madeleine Albright is the first woman to be appointed U.S. Secretary of State. Susan B. Anthony, early leader of the women's suffrage movement, established the National Woman's Suffrage Association. Hillary Clinton is thought to be a strong contender to become our nation's first woman president.
Start at Home
These women, as cultural icons, represent just the smallest sampling of firsts or standouts that your kids need to know and appreciate. But, you need to begin at home. Mom, Grandma and even Great Grandma are all heroes that are frequently overlooked.
We know that every mom is a hero to her children, but how well do your children really know you? How much of your life and history do you share?
If you're a stay-at-home mom, they probably know you as the person who gets their meals, keeps the house, chauffeurs them to after-school activities and comforts them -- important aspects of who you are, but not all that you are.
If you work outside the home, they know you leave and return home at certain times, but how much do they know about where you go and what you do?
5 Simple Lessons:
- Help your kids assemble a simple family tree. Use photos, and tell them about each person you include. Explain why each family member is important in their own right and how they all contribute to who your children are.
- Introduce yourself to your kids. Let them know about your life before them -- your upbringing, schooling, dreams and aspirations.
- If you're a stay-at-home mom, let them peek behind the curtain to see all that you do to make family life better.
- If you work outside the home, talk to your kids about your job/career. Explain why we work and how it impacts your lives. Bring you kids to work with you, if possible, so they can see first-hand where you disappear to and spend so much of your time.
- Watch the signals you send -- ignore gender stereotypes. Remember, that all the boundaries haven't tumbled and all the glass ceilings haven't been broken yet, but foster their positive expectations.
There will always be women whose names stand out -- a Michelle Obama, an Oprah Winfrey, an Emelia Earhart, a Janet Yellen -- but for every famous name, there are countless anonymous women who have shaped our lives. All women, famous or not, are to be honored, respected and given equal rights and pay. Begin by honoring yourselves and the women you know.
My personal heroes are the women who have given and continue to give so much of themselves -- our veterans and active duty military. Some of the organizations I work with are V WISE (Women Veterans Igniting the Spirit of Entrepreneurship), EBV (Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities), and Give an Hour, which provides critical mental health services to U.S. Troops and their families. UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
Please share your thoughts and heroes in the space provided.