March is Women’s History Month, so we pause to celebrate phenomenal women everywhere. Nowadays we can find women at every level–in business, industry, space, politics, media–literally everywhere!
This is an exciting time to be alive and, in a world, where girls can see women in all shapes, sizes, ages, and stages doing amazing things—things we couldn’t imagine 20 years ago. “If you can see it, you can be it” wasn’t created for this month’s celebration but it’s a great description of the opportunities women now have.
Growing up in rural West Tennessee in the 1950s and early 1960s, I saw homemakers, teachers, and beauticians. On television I saw Julia, a widowed African American nurse who was raising her young son, and the handsome private-eye Mannix and his trusty secretary, Peggy, so my first career was as a secretary.
Somehow, I missed Star Trek and Princess Uhura or I’d probably be in a far-off galaxy now, but I was fascinated by strong and accomplished women like The Big Valley’s Victoria Barkley and Gunsmoke’s Kitty Russell. I loved their wills of steel and their no-nonsense ways.
Nevertheless, Women’s history, like all the other month-long celebrations in honor of ethnic and awareness causes, simply reminds us that while our world is imperfect, we must pause and RECOGNIZE the shoulders we’re standing on.
As I watched House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pass the leadership gavel, I applauded her accomplishments. Whether you agree with her politics or tactics, we must acknowledge the historical place she occupied.
Women who are/have been the first and only made the way by walking it. They endured loneliness, disrespect, harassment, deferred dreams, and scorn from those who didn’t want them there, but they persevered and lived to fight another day, for us, who would come behind.
Whether they were breaking earthly barriers like aviators Bessie Coleman or Amelia Earhart, they made it possible for astronauts like Mae Jemison and Sally Ride. To see Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune advising President and First Lady Franklin Roosevelt surely gave Dr. Condoleezza Rice the courage to stand tall as the first female African American Secretary of State.
Billionaires MacKenzie Scott and Melinda Gates donate millions because they understand that to whom much is given, much is required. These women, along with Oprah, Beyonce, Rhianna, Lizzo, and Priscilla Chan, to name a few, are sharing their money, power, and influence to open doors, empower women, and make dreams come true.
From our phenomenal first and second ladies we see activism, advocacy and women who use their substantial influence to advance conversations and support around literacy, healthy living, mental health, substance abuse, the plight of military families, and other urgent issues.
This month please take a moment to celebrate and reflect on the teachers, mentors, neighbors, visionary media pioneers like Rosetta Miller-Perry–all the women who poured into us along the way—the ones who always put that lil’ folded piece of money in your hand when you were home from college, those who hugged, encouraged, and believed in your big dreams, the grandmothers and “Big Mamas”—yours and mine, who gave us cookies and watched over us, the “big girls” we shared secrets with, the aunts who sent a present because we were their favorite—the moms who gave their best and their last—let’s celebrate them all.
Send a note or call today if they’re still with you–donate to their favorite cause if they’re not. We are, because they were and are awesome and amazing. May their love, courage, wisdom, and great expectations forever push us forward.
Looking for inspiration and straight talk with a bit of attitude? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more, and now every first and third Sunday on WOJG.com 94.7 FM, she’s hosting her very own podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, & One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There to Here.” In each episode she’ll share some of her favorite people who’ll inspire and uplift you. She’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful, so slow down, you’re in for a treat!