My grandma Rose was a riveter. That’s right, between 1942-1944 Rosemarie signed up to rivet World War 2 airplanes in Buffalo, New York. If you met my grandmother, you’d see that she’s not quite as looming of a figure as the famous Rosie the Riveter campaign, but she is just as lovely, manicured and put together; and she’s quite amazing. She still lives independently now, driving, dining out, keeping up her house and devouring literature. She is 93 years old.
Fast forward to January 2014, when my older sister was the first in my family to build the next generation and handed the mantle of our grandmother’s name to my niece, Rose Beatrix. Little Rose is just as lovely as her namesake and is a true treasure to all of us.
When I look at little Rose, I am astounded at the opportunities that await her. Our incredibly connected world will advance in Grand-Canyon-sized leaps, and she will have every chance to make her life into anything she wants.
When I first wrote What Girls Need to Hear to Become Entrepreneurs I had no idea what an impact it would make, but I am so proud to see it continue to spread and inspire those who read it. One comment (yes, I read them all) a gentleman said so far has stuck with me. He said something like; “I can’t wait until girls roll their eyes when they are told they can do anything.”
Although I like the sentiment, I can’t help but disagree. I don’t want them to ever get complacent with the opportunities that they have been afforded to them. I want girls to know that women before them had to scrape together, fight and rise up to make their own way. I’m actually worried that Rose and my future children won’t know the history of women in this country, and all over the world who still struggle to make it. A few readers who live outside of the United States mentioned that as well.
I want girls who have everything to know that because they have everything, they have a responsibility to do speak on behalf of women who cannot yet do so, be it through social enterpreneurism, politics or corporate work.
I want them to know:
That even though they can start companies, build businesses and start families, many women worldwide aren’t allowed out of the house without permission. That there are still women who don’t have bank accounts and aren’t give the opportunity to learn how to drive, read or work. That there are still people that feel that they have the option to control how and when women procreate.
That although they may be allowed to love anyone they choose, women worldwide are stoned, beaten or ridiculed for the same sentiments.
That even though they, as girls who have everything can move through this world unafraid, sometimes, even as close as down the street, girls are stolen, sold and lost to the deep dark world of sex-trafficking, and that sometimes nobody is looking to find them.
That they may have been given everything, but that everything was earned by generations before them, and everything must be tended to and not taken for granted.
That they can build businesses and families and politics that give more than take.
And that sometimes, no matter what you have built or have been given, you have to roll up your sleeves, slap on some overalls and get to work to create your own legacy.
I want them to know that we’re already rooting for them, and so are the generations before them.
I’m excited to see what kind of woman the world is ready for. We’re all working hard making it awesome for her.