There is so much talk in the media today about women and how oppressed we are. We had a vibrant discussion on my facebook profile recently about how blessed I feel that my mom somehow raised me to be a strong woman, but one who didn’t look to my gender as the excuse or reason for why things do or don’t happen in my life.
I’m realizing as I watch and listen just how rare that is. And before you say I was raised white and privileged, know that there were a lot of very lean years while I was growing up. If you mean because I’m an American, I’m privileged, then I’ll agree. And I will certainly agree that my family is exceedingly blessed — something I don’t take lightly, but see as a responsibility.
This weekend I took my girls to see Hidden Figures for several reasons. One, I wanted them to see the history both of racism and of strong women in STEM careers. Two, it’s just a good movie, and I like to support good movies at the theater (even though we’ll be buying it as well). But three, and maybe most important in my mind, I wanted them to see the example of women fighting back against injustice but with dignity and as completely women.
You see, one of my challenges as a mom of bright young ladies is to raise them to believe they can be anything that God calls them to be while also helping them see their gender as a gift to be embraced.
I firmly believe that there are a multitude of reasons that God created two genders, and an important one is that women bring great value to the world. We see the world through a different lens, and this is good. In my early years at the law firm, I saw this difference play out many times. For years I was the only woman attorney in the firm, and when I was called into client meetings or brainstorming and strategy sessions, I would see this difference play out. Each of us had essentially the same training, but because I am a woman, I saw the cases uniquely. This was and remains an added value for the firm as a whole.
In my MBA classes, I frequently saw this difference play out. My study group was filled with incredibly smart people – most of the men were engineers. I was very grateful for that fact when we needed to do calculus – blech! But what I saw play out in case study after case study is that the men would run pages of excel spreadsheets and we’d ultimately arrive at the same conclusions. Their reasons were grounded in math, mine was grounded in an understanding of people and human nature.
I hope you hear me. Both are needed. Both are incredibly valuable. My oldest is very science minded. She’s going into medicine, it’s just a question of where. My other daughter wants to be a teacher right now, but she’s eight, so we’ll see where God places her. But if she continues to want to be a teacher, that’s a noble calling I will fully support.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is I want my girls to be like the women represented in Hidden Figures. I want them to be strong, brilliant women who will do what God has called them to do. Women who will always be grateful God created them just as He did. Women who can celebrate being women while coming against injustice when it exists. Who will push for opportunities but do it with grace and wit. But most of all women who know their true identity is found in being princesses of the Most High.