Years ago I decided to go to Graduate School and get a Certificate of Completion as a Paralegal. I was excited about my opportunities, and to work in the legal field. Some of the women in my family were less than encouraging and supportive of my chosen field of study. I was asked, “Why don’t you study for more traditional women’s roles?” Inside, I dug my heels in and was determined to choose my own path. What did my gender have to do with what I wanted to pursue? It was 1981.
I’ve had family members ask, “You aren’t a feminist are you?” As if, being that, was a bad thing. Again, I dug my heels in, kept silent, and went to work volunteering and making financial contributions that supported what I believed in.
Around 2010, I joined forces with other women in Colorado to take a stand for women and girls in our state. I became a PEP member, which stands for Planned Extended Philanthropy. I knew my voice joined a choir of women, that together our roar wouldn’t be ignored. I loved the sisterhood.
As a mom of five children, a mixture of boys and girls, my children have been raised with a strong ethic of volunteering. Recently, my youngest, a daughter applied for an amazing opportunity through the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. Yes, the same foundation that I support through my PEP membership. This daughter had been looking forward to the year she would be a Sophomore, and qualify to apply for the Girls Leadership Council. She boldly believes that women along with men should support causes that affect women and girls. That this shouldn’t be a women’s only fight/effort. It may be about our gender, yet shouldn’t be limited to a gender.
That’s when it hit me, like a ton of bricks. My solo decision to stand up quietly against people that I loved, that were well meaning, made a significant difference in the lives of other women and girls. My daughter doesn’t see feminism as a negative word, or see any limits to how she wants to show up. AND, she believes that men, should come alongside of us, to insure that every woman and girl should have an opportunity to reach their full potential and thrive.
I’ve never really talked about her following in my path, yet she feels the desire to get involved in her own way. I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of my daughter. I’m grateful for the work the Women’s Foundation of Colorado. It’s allowed me, to make a path for my daughter to follow. That’s why, I’m a PEP member.
There have been times that I’ve thought the work of WFCO was for those women and girls that are financially disadvantaged. Yet we also set the example for young female leaders to follow our example. That is powerful. It’s empowering. It’s bold.
And yes, I am a feminist. I’m a mother. I’m a wife. I’m an entrepreneur. I’m a business owner. I’m a philanthropist. I’m a community activist. I’m a woman.