I know quite a few women marching in the D.C. rally today for women’s rights. And some in our local rally here in Chicago.
While I am generally outspoken, I am not much of a marcher. It is not that I don’t value the message and the show of solidarity. I do. I certainly do. It’s that I am a pragmatist to the nth degree. My “marching” takes place quietly, usually one on one.
I’ve been marching for many years. It’s not marching in any real sense of the word, but it is helping other women make progress. I’ve mentored a couple of younger women who have now both been promoted, one within her company and another in a new position at a company of her choosing. I am so darn proud of both. They went from uncertain missteps to confident plans of action in a matter of months. This progress has more to do with their mettle than my coaching—but I was happy to help them speed up their trajectory.
Will this help us preserve women’s rights? I think so. The more successful women we have who vote with their pocketbooks, the less likely we are to have the travesty that occurred within this last U.S. election.
I “march” when I support friends who decide to work towards supporting themselves financially. You can’t be equal if you don’t have the power to walk away should you have to do so.
I admire what my friends are doing this weekend. But I also admire those women who are quietly making the world a different place than it used to be. One that is friendlier towards women—or if not friendlier, one in which women at least hold enough power to hold their own against those who would desire to subjugate them.
That is a world in which I’d like to see any granddaughter of mine grow up and thrive.
While the loud revolution bangs the drums, I applaud those who are also fueling a quiet revolution. Many times, those quiet changes are the ones that last beyond rallies and speeches.
Today, while I send good vibes to the marchers, I will be teaching my youngest how to do laundry. And I may ask him to watch “Suffragette” with me, an ask I’m sure will make him roll his eyes.
Just another way some of us “march”—by raising men from whom future generations of women will not have to defend themselves. Men who take their equal share of work inside and outside of the home. Men who see entitlement as a blind for the lazy.
Huzzah to all of us who work for the greater good today. May we each spur change in our own way, respecting the fact that all types are needed in the larger march towards true women’s equality.
I cannot help but think of my mother, who helped pave the way for so many women to succeed. Without fanfare, in her no-nonsense way, she put opportunities in front of those most qualified. And she helped make sure there was a subset that was “most qualified.” She raised her six daughters to be self-sufficient.
I can’t think of a better way to support women’s rights.
And yet, I was feeling today that I may not be living up to her example. When a friend asked if I was headed downtown for the march, my response was that I was not. And I wondered if she would feel I was not quite doing my part in teaching my boys the lesson in front of us to learn.
Her response was eloquent and kind, just like her: “It is enough that your boys are being raised by you. Your example each day is enough. In you, they see what a strong woman looks like. And they will support other strong women.”
My admiration goes out to the women who do the quiet marching every day, as well as to those whose role it is to raise their voices in a more public display.
Both move us forward. And really, that is the only direction in which we should be willing to go.