"A better world awaits the generation that absorbs what women and men have to share about life from a joint perspective. Together, all things are possible." - Karen Staser, Founder, National Women's History Museum
Since 1987 America has recognized March as Women's History Month and in 1996 the National Women's History Museum was founded by Karen Staser as a permanent landmark location "to preserve and celebrate the story of Woman." In her words, "Historians and other scientists have recovered the profound social, intellectual and scientific history of women over the past 50 years. How empowering to discover that women originated or were major contributors in so many fields-from agriculture, medicine, and mathematics to religion, philosophy and art."
My own words on the subject of women's contribution to history's milestones would certainly be less eloquent, less "quotable." In fact, I believe I could sum up our importance with two words borrowed from my grade-school age female peers: "No duh." But, as succinct as that phrase may be, it certainly doesn't qualify as inspirational enough to quote. But that got me thinking. What could I say or contribute that is worthy of being immortalized in such a museum? What have I done to advance the cause of womankind during my 30-some years on this planet?
In 2006 I founded GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning to deliver clean, toxic-free living and working spaces with the help of a dedicated team of cleaning technicians. These men and women are given the opportunity not only to earn a paycheck but to change their lives through ongoing career and lifestyle training. They benefit from these programs, as do the communities they represent; but, do our combined efforts represent accomplishments worthy of the National Women's History Museum? And if so, what would be on display as a symbol of the goals we've achieved together?
In answer, I might offer up a paystub from a new employee's first check. Her situation was literally life and death. Her mother was sick back home in Ecuador and she needed that paycheck to pay for her mother's lifesaving surgery. Of course it can be said that every paycheck goes toward a good cause: a rent payment, weekly groceries or utility bills; but, the relief and gratitude she shared when she was able to wire the funds home to pay for the surgery and save her mother's life will stand out in my memory forever.
Although not every paycheck means the difference between life and death, the money and education our company provides changes lives and that is a fact I take pride in every day. This month, in honor of Women's History Month, take a moment to ask yourself: Are you living up to the sacrifices and struggles pioneering women have made for us throughout history? Are your accomplishments "museum-worthy?"
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.