By Julie Pike, Editor-in-chief
March is the declared month to celebrate the vast contributions that women have made in history, but it’s reminded me to appreciate the aspiring women that are in my life.
Women’s History Month is celebrated in the U.S., U.K and Australia. This month also includes International Women’s Day on the eighth. Thirty-one days of celebrating women.
Several of the stories in this issue fall under this topic. It has been celebrated right at USM with several events that encompassed the broad topic of women, from their role in politics, the feminist movement, and more specific to students at USM, their experience with sexual assault and the #metoo movement.
Personally this entire month has had me reflecting on the influential women in my life. While there are numerous examples of public figures that I admire and look up to, such as Michelle Obama or Beyonce, it’s the people in my everyday life that are the ones to be admired, especially my mom.
I’ve seen first hand the hardships that my mom has had to go through, and it hasn’t been easy for her. She’s been a single mom for close to 19 years now, putting all of her time into her now four children. Eight years ago she selflessly took in a child who did not have a fit mother, and has since been raising him as one of her own. She did what many others would be hesitant to do, and gave him a second chance at life.
Every waking moment she is constantly working or doing something for her kids, and she does this without hesitation. I can honestly say I’ve never seen a more hard working or selfless person in my life. She may not have the celebrity status of Beyonce, but her influence to me is so much greater.
A day in the life of my mother consists of getting up early to make breakfast and get Jacob off to school, then getting to work as soon as possible. She’s juggling two jobs at the moment, so she’s often not done working until eight at night, sometimes later. This long day of hers isn’t complete without constant disruptions, making dinner for Jacob, housework that needs to get done, appointments or meetings. Her work day often gets pushed into well after the sun has gone down.
The next day this cycle repeats all over again, and yet somehow my mother gets through it. She is truly the strongest person I know. While she certainly struggles having this exhausting schedule, she does it because it’s all for her kids. It’s seeing how she can get through all of this that gives me a better perspective of my own life.
I don’t know if I’ll ever have children of my own, but I hope that if I do, I can be at least half as good of a mother as she is. She’s given everything she has to her children, and I wish there was a way for me to somehow pay her back for that. But, as I know she would say, that’s the duty of a mother, you don’t expect your kids to return the favor.
With this I encourage all of you to think about the influential women in your life, whether that may be your own mother, your grandmother, a sister, a colleague, a teacher, whoever they may be. It’s these women in our everyday lives that are the most important role models. While it’s empowering to listen to Michelle Obama deliver speeches full of wisdom, it’s the real life experiences that make the biggest impact.
I’m ecstatic to see that influential and powerful women are becoming more noticed and represented in society, such as how Barbie released a line of dolls based on real-life figures including Amelia Earhart and Frida Kahlo. However, I wish more praise went to everyday women that are the unsung heroes in this world, such as mothers. My mom may not be mentioned in modern day history books, but her influence to me is in no way diminished. Empowering women don’t have to be widely known or popular to be a role model to others.
Let the women in your life that you admire know that they are the true role models in your life, that it is their everyday work and contributions that inspire you. They are the ones that deserve more recognition. Hopefully going forward it’s these women that aren’t just celebrated during one month, but throughout the year.