This is the Time to be Everything We Are

Often women have expectations for their professional and personal lives set for them in childhood. Some of those expectations are inferred within the family; others, more insidious, are set by test and IQ scores well before high school. In fact, student placement in unchallenging, sedentary educational settings erases the possibility of teaching toward a girl’s individual strengths.

Career guidance often follows such testing, frequently limiting young women’s paths into engineering, medicine, law and the creative arts. A far worse consequence is setting girls’ ambitions for their own achievement.

Yet, not all achievement by women remains set by early limitation or lack of support.

Millions of women stand with this country’s black community in demanding justice for black citizens – our citizens – who are murdered by law enforcement. We write, we march, we literally stand with others whom we care about as we do our family members. A powerful image of this courageous support occurred in the Louisville Courier-Journal when a line of white women, arm in arm, stood between black protesters and Louisville Metro Police on Thu evening.

Credit: Tim Druck

So, the drive that surfaces in women who excel and live outside false expectations need not only be limited to academics. Courage lives in us all, and women in every leadership role – including women who place their lives in danger to support and protect others – are living their best lives and inspire us.

Voice need not be verbal. Our physical presence, our privilege as citizens who have the invisible luxury of not feeling discrimination in every moment of their lives, is a profound example of our collective voice. “This is love. This is what you do with your privilege.” [emphasis mine]

Examine any leveling of expectations that were preset in your life. Simply acknowledging them as ill-formed judgment causes them to dissolve.

This is the time to be everything we are. Standing with all races – our human community – to demand fairness, equality, autonomy and justice is living our highest lives.

Use your voice. Stand with those you love.