On April 20th, at the age of 92, Mary Doyle Keefe passed away. To some she is just a name of someone's grandma, but to many, she was a true heroine. Mary was the model who posed for Norman Rockwell's iconic and timeless character Rosie The Riveter. Rosie changed the face of womanhood and equality and for me she set a standard of toughing it out during rough times and being a successful female professional against all odds.
I've always been fascinated with the history of World War II. When I was in high school I studied the details of the war and its effect on the United States at great length. Much of that also had to do with the fact that my grandfather was a decorated WWII air force pilot and he and my grandma would often share stories of their experiences as young adults during the war. It was so interesting to me to know the "why" behind sugar rationing and shoes being hard to purchase...just to name a few. But, what really intrigued me was the impact women had on the war efforts and their willingness and ability to take on careers in typically male dominated professions.
Decades later, women are still busting their way through the social barriers and glass ceilings that exist in the workplace. Equality is a four-letter word to some employers, but to many it is a welcomed culture and those companies flourish because of their diversity. I've been fortunate to work for some really great managers over the years and my favorites were those who encouraged the diverstiy and didn't tolerate the harrassment. One manager in particular just celebrated her birthday this week. Heidi was my manager during an extremely tough time of life. She was the manager that sat me down many times and said, "you will get your success, keep working at it." She was also the manager that finally kicked my butt into high gear to go to therapy and get past my issues. To this day, I count my LUCKY STARS that I had that job because it meant that I had my Heid to inspire me, support me and encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and have the courage to fight for my right to succeed in the career world.
On my Facebook page I posed the question, "What does Rosie the Riveter symbolize for you?" The answers I received were really really inspiring. Thank you to these women for sharing their thoughts
- When i was a working mom, I had small children at home, and I helped to support my family while my husband attended school. I worked to oversee the recycling program for our community of 19 cities and unincorporated areas. We changed over to a mandatory curbside recycling program in our community and I was over the project to deliver and track that every home received a curbside bin. I was the only woman working in our office at the time, and was over a team of men to get the assignment done. It took 2 years to complete and we often worked 60- 70 hr. weeks to accomplish this. when the project was complete, my team of all men, had this poster of Rosie the Riveter framed and signed by all of them, and gave it to me to hang in my office for what they said was a job well done. It was by far the best compliment I ever received. I am now a stay at home mom, and it now hangs in my home office. A great reminder of how hard working women can make a difference in whatever we do.
- I'm going with sass and that I can do anything you can do mentality. Except I'll be honest and say I don't mind not doing everything myself. Middle child syndrome?
- That i am stronger than I think.
- I can bring home the bacon... fry it up in the pan... and never ever let you forget your a man...
- My momma. She died a week ago. She could do anything.
- I can do it! Take some muscle and get it done just like all the women before you did!
I am so grateful for the women who came before me, including a grandmother who taught school while her husband flew war planes in Europe and another grandmother who raised 6 hooligan children (5 boys, 1 girl - my mother) at a very young age and is now a champion of champions as she works through her own mourning process. I am inspired and lifted by their examples and love. I have much to be grateful for in my time of trial and I know that this curveball will actually throw me into something greater and more spectacular.
The moral of the story: We CAN do hard things. Absolutely we can.
Until next time, my lovelies!