Anytime is a great time to celebrate the women in our lives, however, women are in the spotlight in March, not only with the celebration of International Women’s Day, but also Women’s History Month in the US and Mother’s Day in the UK (March 22).
While UIO podcast is dedicating this week to celebrating 10 inspiring women that have changed history, I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a few fabulous women who have touched the course of my life, some of them I have admired from afar and others have been quite up close and personal. Certainly, there have been a few good men, too, but now is a perfect time to give women their props.
The first woman who had a great influence on me was my mother. Not only was she a great nurturer, she was also a great role model. Through her, I learned the importance of independence. One of the few women of her times who worked outside of the home, she brought home more than the bacon. She brought home a way of thinking that set me on a path to dream beyond our front doorstep. And it was her sister who had dared to move a way, yet another fantastic woman who touched my life early on.
From an educational standpoint, there were many, perhaps too many to name here, but one was my first grade teacher, a beautiful young African American woman, whose presence was enough to make me love school. And then there was a favourite professor in college (university) who unreservedly loved Maya Angelou so much that her fascination became contagious. If I had any doubts about becoming a writer, the doubts ended with my new love affair. And so, I began to read literature voraciously.
Still I wanted to try my hand at journalism. And interestingly enough it was an ambitious young woman who led me to my first newspaper job. Without her recommendation, it might have never happened. And yet another amazing female mentor encouraged me to go to New York. Without her I am fairly sure I would not have made the move. And during my stint in New York, I was surrounded by amazing women, too many to name here, but two of them my bosses, opened many doors for me, left and right.
Admittedly, it was rare that I understood the positive influence that most of these women had on me when it was happening, but on one particular occasion, I was so impressed by one woman that I see her even today in my mind’s eye. I sort of know what she was wearing when I laid eyes on her, a silk blouse with a tailored suit, though I am sure I have changed the colour over the years. She stands tall in all of her colour, forever positively influencing me.
It was her message, without saying a word, that she was every woman, if you will, and therefore, I could be so, too. A change maker indeed and a history shaper, too. Even if her name never appears in a history book, it’s indelibly etched in my mind’s eye, like all the women who have touched me personally.
What a pleasure it is to celebrate women who have changed history globally and locally. Share your stories here in the spirit of celebration.