I’ve been thinking a lot about women lately.
I was selected recently to be one of three KC Makers to be featured on The Local Show, our PBS station, KCPT’s, part in a larger initiative celebrating women’s social impact. I’ve since learned more about MAKERS.com, the largest video collection of stories from impactful women, both known and unknown. Building on this archive, “MAKERS: Women Who Make America,” is a three-hour documentary that shares how women have created social change for their full and fair share of political power, economic opportunity, and personal autonomy in the 21st century. I relate to these women’s stories, especially to the ones who’ve struggled to find a place that gives their life meaning beyond one that someone else says should be sufficient.
As a lifelong businesswoman, I learned early in my career that the best way to break through the barriers of a gender-biased culture was to create my own way through entrepreneurship. Iexcused myself from job interviewers who wanted to talk about my typing instead of managerial skills. I left an otherwise rewarding position with a Fortune 500 company after learning my male counterparts earned nearly double my salary. But I barely remember these barriers, because I used them as bumpers to bounce me into a place where I now thrive.
While women may face more gender biases than men, there are hurdles for any individual wanting a personalized work life. I have about as many women as men clients. (I will say that the men who choose to work with me are very comfortable accessing what Carl Jung calls, ‘their feminine side.’) The most profound accomplishment of the women’s movement thus far is that women (and men) have more opportunities to be their best individuals with fewer cultural restrictions.
I am deliberate about saying “thus far,” because there still are many accidental and subversive barriers to women’s continued progress. Even women with every opportunity struggle to find their individual path.
I believe that self-employment, entrepreneurship, and business ownership offer the most freedom for responding to life’s doors and windows.
And I hope my life’s work shows others that a personalized vision for success is possible.