So yes the title is a bit sensationalist. But it sounded much more interesting than A Feminist Self Analysis. And meeting Erica Ehm is what started it all.
So the story begins the evening I met with various other Moms from the Yummy Mummy club. The occasion was the founder of the Yummy Mummy Club Erica Ehm was in town. We had a lovely dinner, mostly with women who I had met on twitter but never met in person before. Dinner, like the yummy mummy club, had interesting and varied conversation. We were empathetic, supportive and cheerleaders for each other. We were women, who happened to be Moms, having nice adult conversation.
The night got me thinking though (stewing for several weeks actually). I consider myself a feminist that respects and supports the decisions of other women. I spent volunteer time supporting and mentoring young women and an organization committed to promoting women in leadership (Women in Leadership Foundation). But when I think back to the time when Erica was breaking ground at Much Music I certainly wasn’t supportive - nor were many other young women I knew. My teenage friends and I gave Erica a pretty hard time (not directly of course). Instead of realizing how great it was to have a girl playing with the boys at Much Music. We gossiped about everything she wore, said, did or didn’t do. I don’t know how I would have held up under such tough scrutiny when I was in my early 20s. But Erica excelled and grew in her career. She paved the way for other women to follow their dreams. Today she continues to support other women through her Yummy Mummy Club. (and NO I didn’t have the balls to admit this to Erica or ask her about those early days in her career)
Of course it is easy to look back and say that was over 20 years ago and times have changed. But have they?
Think about when Katie Couric took over the anchor desk at CBS Evening News. The news and media were skeptical. She was scrutinized for everything she wore, said, dated, did and didn’t do. I’ve never seen such a critical analysis of a male anchor before. But Katie must be doing something right because another major network has decided to take the “risk” on a woman at the anchor desk. Diane Sawyer, one of the most respected women in journalism, has finally been offered the ABC anchor desk. That is now 2/3 of nightly network news anchored by women.
And look at Hilary Clinton in the news this summer about her trip to Africa. She is the US Secretary of State and was asked what her husband thought about a specific policy. The media focused on that one incident for weeks. The reason behind for the trip lost while they raked her over the coals – she was even accused of having a bad hair day.
I guess the short note is that women continue to break ground, paving the way for the future. And while we have come a long way, we have a long way yet to go. And we need to start with ourselves. Do we support the women in our lives? Do we support the ones breaking ground in your community? Society? Country? We need to stop judging each other. And like the yummy mummy club start listening, supporting and cheerleading each others dreams and choices. It is that sort of positive support that will only make it easier for us to realize our individual dreams. And lay an even stronger foundation for ourselves and the next generation of women.