Today I join the Women’s March on Washington.
My agenda is women’s rights. Today, I walk for the women in my past.
I walk for my grandmother who raised her six children as a single mother. That was a time when women did not routinely hold a job. She faced difficult odds yet, she managed a chicken farm, a cannery, and took in sewing to make ends meet. She walked to work and walked to the grocery store. She was 20 years old when women were granted the right to vote.
I walk for my great aunt who was passionate about the stock market. She studied it feverishly and just knew she had it figured out. But no bank would loan money to a woman. She approached a doctor friend and asked for a loan. He turned her down. She approached him again. He said no. She went back and asked again, and again. Finally, he agreed to meet with her, and after hearing her spiel he told her she should be teaching it, and he lent her money. She made her fortune in the stock market. By herself. A million dollars was a lot of money in the 1940’s.
Most of all, I walk for my mother. Who lived in a time that even though she held a job, she could not get a checking account without the signature of a man. And, sometime in the 1970s, when she finally got that checking account without the signature of a man, she walked in the house holding that checkbook high. I walk because she told my dad she wasn’t raising me to clean up after a bunch of men, as she took the broom away from me and scooted me out the screen door. I walk because when I was trying to make my marriage work, because that’s what we do, she told me to never let a man hold me back. I walk because even though she was a great woman in her own right, she could have been even greater had she been given the chance. I walk for her missed opportunities.
I walk for the women who were brave enough to take a stand which gave me what I have today.
I want to be that courageous. I want to be that brave. I walk for them today. It’s the least I can do.