Being somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 through my goal (to blog for a year on this), it seemed like a good time to reflect. God is doing SO much in my life right now, including leading me to a women's Bible study with women from so many walks of life and yet seem to deeply understand me.
It comes back to Mary & Marie. It comes back to the picture-logo I created right before starting this blog. The girls are hand in hand. Solidarity and sisterhood of the sciences with my (our) faith. But there is also something simple to be said for women supporting other women.
I recently had a conversation via Facebook with a bunch of people (who did not all know each other, although I knew all of them). The post that had sparked this conversation was my saying that I was up late, reading for a class, an excerpt from Creating a life: Professional women and the quest for children (Hewlett, 2002). The piece included a number of statistics and stories of "high-achieving" women (regarding salary) and the fact that many of these women not only had to make sacrifices in their family life, but many had never married or had children at all, even though they'd wanted to. The conversation this sparked continued to draw out one theme: Women are all different. And Feminism is supposed to be about options.
Based on the reading-- we have a problem. And it's a men's problem too. Work and family life do not easily mesh. And most jobs do not make it easy to attend to our families (or ourselves) the way we wish in order to promote good health (of all kinds) and good relationships. And we need to solve this.
But what came up in the discussion was the pressures women face in balancing career and family, and in making these choices. A woman who does not have- or does not want- children is no less of a woman. And a woman who chooses to stay home with her children- maybe even homeschool them- is no less of a feminist.
Feminism is about the freedom to make these choices-- free from pressure, free from judgment. We all make the best choices we can. Everyday. For ourselves and for our families.
In my mentor work, I must often show young women that there is nothing that compromises their femininity by going into a scientific career. I find that it is often not the case that these women think they are not intelligent enough, but that they will somehow not be filling the role correctly.
We are not Stepford Wives. We are not cookie cutter women. We are real. We have diverse interests and callings and desires and missions. And one of those missions should be to support the girl in line next to you in whatever her interests, callings, desires, and missions are.
So this week, I want to encourage you- and myself- and all of us- to take a step back. Realize that every woman (and man) you meet is probably doing the best she can. And reach over, and pat her on the back. Reach back and help a sister move forward when you can. And reach forward and let yourself be inspired and helped into your own unique, beautiful destiny. Solidarity, sisters!