Two steps forward, many more to go: Reflections from a woman business owner

On International Women's Day I feel proud to be one of the few women who own and run my own advertising content company, a field that has been, and continues to be, dominated by men. I am also proud to have four female directors on our roster, and to support their work and dreams. I am humbled to think that my own mother only felt she had the choice to be a teacher, a nurse, or an airline stewardess when she was growing up. Just this morning, my nine-year-old daughter was contemplating whether she should go to law school after college or medical school (to become a vet) OR could she be a writer and not go to graduate school. It was a matter of deciding, not of limitation. Oh how far we have come -- and yet we have so far to go.

When the President is someone who openly talked about sexually abusing women under his power, when Congress stands at the precipice of defunding planned parenthood, when women still do not have equal pay for equal work, we have not gone far enough. When all women still worry about the choices they make, whether they feel like a bad mother because they work full time, or have concern about not being a good role model because they are stay at home parents, or feel pushed aside for deciding not have children at all. These are not issues that confront our male counterparts. So we need to keep working.

One of the best things we can do is to support each other in our own personal choices, surround ourselves with people who buoy us, and push us to be the best of whatever and whomever we choose to be; and at the same time, make sure we are doing the same for others who come behind us. We need to be thankful for the fathers who told us we could do anything we set our minds to, the male bosses who mentored us along the way, the husbands who stand by us, support us, and take care of our kids when we have to go on a business trip. We need to teach our sons to treat women with respect, while showing our girls that being strong and having grit and determination are more important than being pretty. We need to do the work…every day.

And when we do, who knows what my daughter’s daughter will be able to dream of becoming? The future is in our hands, to pass to hers.

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Lauren Schwartz