A Poignant Conversation: Women Paving the Way for Other Women

Last week I got into a poignant conversation with an older woman via the telephone. Our conversation went from the script I was suppose to say to women’s issues. Suddenly our lives were being compared as Presbyterian College students…women, college students to be exact. Hers was early in the 20th century as mine is in the early 21st century.

In her world, college consisted of letters while mine consists of iMessages or emails. She was one of a few women among many men while I am apart of a class where the females outnumber the males. As our conversation continued, I came to realize how far we’ve come in regards to female rights.

Not perfect mind you, but better. Amazingly better.

In her world women were limited to two professions after college….become a teacher or a secretary. Other avenues were not available without major resources working in your favor. This woman entered into secretary work because her mother didn’t want her to travel out of town. She informed me that she was never unhappy with her choices or how her life turned out, but she did wish later that more options had been open to her. She told me to educate myself in as many fields as possible; make sure as many doors are open as possible when I toss my own cap in a little less than two years.

I’m working towards that. My current path will leave me with a major and three minors. I will hopefully pursue my journalism career but I’m also working on opening a door for a part time freelancing/social media consulting business on the side. I also am piling up manuscripts and short stories to hopefully publish. All of these things are individual passions of mine or dreams I hope to see come to light.

After I hung up the phone, my thoughts were with that woman’s words for days after. I have much to be thankful for…especially my opportunities. Now I am not saying that opportunities just appear on a silver platter, you do have to work for them. Each opportunity I have I worked for and seized to my advantage.

We as women, especially those of us in higher education, should appreciate what we possess. Many, many women before us worked hard to give us these opportunities. Opportunities they did not have. They pioneered prejudice and sexism. They worked tirelessly so that future generations could have opportunities they only dreamed of.

We owe it to our grandmothers that only had two options if they were lucky to attend a college where the males outnumbered them. We owe it to our great-grandmothers who fought to even have the privilege to attend a university. We owe it to all those that came before us. We owe it to the many girls who still today do not have the opportunities. Work for these girls and help provide if you can, opportunities for them.

Most importantly we owe it to ourselves because each of us is beautiful in our own unique, special way.

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