Part 1: Feminism is not an ugly word

7 Dec

Definition of Feminism: The advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.

And no, this post is not about bashing of the male species.

I’ve always been a quiet feminist, wanting to stand up for women but also not wanting to rock the proverbial boat when it comes to sexism. Often times the idea of feminism makes people uncomfortable and that’s why I want to remind you that it’s not an ugly word, it’s quite the opposite. In the month of November there were three instances that reminded me of the importance of feminism and challenged me to identify the role I can play as a newly not-so-quiet feminist.

1. I attended Foundation for Success’ annual winter event with one of my mentors. This incredible organization’s mission is, in short, strong women supporting strong younger women in the areas of personal development, esteem and financial resources during their undergraduate studies. What impressed me most about this foundation was the sincerity in their action to fulfil their mission. During the event, which was held at a foundation member’s beautiful home, attendees were able to meet a couple of the young women that had received scholarships and mentors through Foundation for Success. To my delight, I discovered one of the scholarship recipients is a mentor to one of my students at my placement organization. When I got the chance to speak with her later on she told me she had opted to become a mentor so she could “pay it forward.” This speaks volumes to the impact we as women have on other women to make positive choices for ourselves and our community.

Allies Jennifer (left) and Jessica read the MyRegion.org "Progress Report on Central Florida"

2. Shelley Lauton of MyRegion.org pointed out during a Public Allies Leadership development session that “a mother’s educational attainment heavily determines a child’s success.” Houston, we just lost cabin pressure. I am fairly certain I already knew about this concept to a certain extent but I don’t think it ever sunk in. This statement is energizing, shocking, and incredible all in the same moment. Why had I not fully comprehended the impact a mother has on a child’s success? This was a moment where I realized I had a huge “blind spot.” I work with children every day to help them become successful but I’ve never stopped to ask myself — was anyone there to help your mother succeed so she, in turn, could help you?

I’ve always put my focus and effort toward the next generation of women. This realization of this “blind spot” provided me with some much needed perspective on the limitations I had set on how I support women. I am now challenged to identify other ways in which I can support women of of all ages.

The feminism doesn’t stop there….. to be continued, look for part 2 soon.

How will you support the women in your life today?

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One Response to “Part 1: Feminism is not an ugly word”

  1. imdelgado December 12, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

    Great challenge at the end!

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