This month, among many other things, marks Eleanor Roosevelt’s birthday. While her birthday is not widely recognized and celebrated every October, women today should be made aware of the strides Mrs. Roosevelt made in order to better the status of working women.
In addition to helping her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, forge the New Deal and advocating civil rights, Eleanor worked hard to make it acceptable for women to have their own careers. Though she opposed the Equal Rights Amendment (she feared it would have the opposite effect), Eleanor was a pioneer for women in the working world. To women of her era, she stood as a figure for women who wanted to work by writing a syndicated newspaper column and holding frequent press conferences where no men were allowed.
I know what you’re thinking. Patty, why are you giving a history lesson? Well, as they told us years ago in grade school and high school, in order to understand today and tomorrow, we must better understand the past. Fast-forward to today.
Now, we have movies such as last month’s I Don’t Know How She Does It that are centered around one idea: Can a woman really have it all? If so, how? I speak from experience when I say that I know it’s possible. You can have the career, relationship, kids, and lead a fulfilled life. Honestly, the question, “Can a woman have it all?” is a little tired now. I believe women have proved, time and time again, that we can, in fact, do it all. That it was ever questioned is a little insulting.
We are fortunate to live in an era that allows us to go after what we want and choose our path. Whether that’s staying at home with the kids, focusing on your career, or some combination of both, that’s up to the individual. The choice is ultimately ours.
The most beautiful part about women and careers now is that you can change what you’re doing whenever you like. If you’re tired of the way your current job is going, you have the right to take action and seek something that suits you better. What it really takes is a career that leaves one fulfilled. I wonder, if Eleanor were here today, would she ask, “Can a woman have it all?” I think, instead, she would change the focus to, “How can a woman feel fulfilled?” Whatever that is, you have the right to chase after it whole-heartedly, and I hope that you do. Remember your success is a choice within your life.