Now I wasn’t particularly feeling it at the time but it turns out that last year was a phenomenal year for women. It seems that the women of this country, per usual, were not deterred by multiple wars nor economic disaster. They just kept working and boy did they get stuff done!
According to the Huffington Post’s “The 50 Best Moments for Women in 2011” we made some huge gains last year. Among them, the FBI has recommended redefining the crime of rape since their current definition was written in 1929 and includes the words “carnal knowledge.” (A whole blog could be written on this one ridiculous point alone, but I’ll save that for another time). In the past year women have also gained broader heath care coverage for birth control. They ran more top companies. They have started more of their own businesses. They have made history on several fronts, and in general have had their work, their art, their relationships and their accomplishments recognized in major ways.
What has impressed me most about the women who have been recognized this past year is the large number of middle-aged and older women who are still working, still creating, and still accomplishing incredible things.
Check these ladies out:
- Rev. Dr. Mariann Edgar Budde, 52, was elected the first female bishop of the Washington, D.C. diocese of the Episcopal Church.
- Jill Abramson, 57, became the first female Executive Editor of the “New York Times.”
- Author Jennifer Egan, 49, wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her work “A Visit From the Goon Squad.”
- Meg Whitman, 55, was hired to head Hewlett Packard.
- Ginni Rometty, 54, became the first female CEO of IBM.
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, 73, the current president of Liberia, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with two other women, was awarded for her work in ending civil war in her country.
Wow, and I was excited because I thought getting the Christmas decorations put away was a big accomplishment for this weekend!
These women are well past the age to be hired for most Hollywood movies. It turns out, contrary to popular belief, no matter what Hollywood thinks, many, many older women have gone on to accomplish great things later in life, even long after their years as wives and mothers. Maine’s own Margaret Chase Smith was 43 when she was first elected to Maine’s House of Representatives and served for over 30 years, making history as the first female presidential nominee for a major political party. Anna Mary Robertson Moses, better known to the world as Grandma Moses, did not pick up her first paint brush until the age of 76 and Julia Child, world-famous French Chef, did not even begin to learn to cook French Cuisine until she was 51!
All this tells me I may have been slacking off. The full-time job, the part-time college schedule, the writing, and the busy social life just aren’t going to cut it anymore. It’s time to step it up. No longer is being middle-aged an excuse for not doing, going and being everything you ever wanted.
My favorite story from this last year is about Phyllis Siegel, 76, and Connie Kopelov, 84. They were the first same-sex couple to be legally married in New York City. They have been together for 23 years, since they were 53 and 62, proving that even living happily ever after is still possible, at any age.
So what are you waiting for?