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Can you hear me roar?

Reprinted from by Lorri Antosz Benson

It's International Women’s Day!

I am woman, hear me roar. Unless there’s a hot, scented bead-filled, candle-lit bath drawn, and then time out. Because more often than not, I’m a little tired of roaring and could use a small break. And why in the world is there still a need to roar? I hit the start of my career as feminism was at full throttle. Ms. Magazine, bra-burning and Gloria Steinem were all part of the national consciousness. “The Women’s Movement” was something to be reckoned with; something strong and powerful. And we made our point.

We were going to have it all, damn it, and have it all we did. We became superwomen, bringing home the bacon and frying it up in the pan, having the babies and then juggling everyone’s schedule. Running carpool while conferencing on the phone. I, for one, began to wonder if we’d really won the jackpot or perhaps somehow had been played. This was hard, and there was no time for a bath. There was barely time for eating and sleeping.

The good news is that on one hand, we’ve now got the choices we wanted. If we are fortunate, we can choose to work, or choose to stay home. Or maybe work part-time, or perhaps work from home. Or bring our baby to work in some rare cases. It’s not perfect, but women are now over 50% of college grads and almost half of the workforce. The bad news is discrimination still exists, women still aren’t breaking that glass ceiling often enough, and sexist standards are still very present. Women still feel the pressure to look certain ways, and are judged often more on how they look than on what they know or what they do. And while we may be in the workplace, we have no system of childcare to help us out.

But we are still roaring, all these years later. And we will be heard. And now, more than ever, we have men rooting for us and supporting our cause too. As the younger generations gain adulthood, many of them don’t even understand why discrimination can even exist. They don’t understand gender inequality because they have grown up with working moms, and strong sisters and fathers who share parenting and household duties with their wives. Not all . . . the work isn’t done. But today, on International Women’s Day, I can see progress. Not enough, but certainly progress from where we started.

We still have women all over the world struggling against bias in education, the workplace and in life. But I have seen motivated women, and heard their loud roars. And I know there’s hope.

I’ve been blessed to have had strong, smart, accomplished women around me my whole life. My grandma, my mother . . . what amazing role models. And then my daughters, each one of them my sun and moon, and an inspiration to me every day. Including my birth daughter, who showed incredible courage initiating our reunion just 16 years after I placed her for adoption. She took a brave risk, and it paid off. And if we’re mentioning strong, amazing women . . . I must mention her mother, the mother who adopted my tiny baby years ago and answered my prayers by molding her into a compassionate, loving, remarkable human being. This woman who lost her loving husband so early in their journey, and carried on with incomparable fortitude and dignity. This woman who not only did this, but with confidence and love, let me in from the moment we met to share their lives and blend our families. Remarkable.

Women . . . ya gotta love ‘em. You go girls . . . keep roaring. Just take out a little time for that bath.

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