H and I have five children among us, three boys and two girls. They are uniformly funny, smart, all-around excellent kids, and we love each of them to pieces. We work hard to be good moms to them, to provide for them. Basically everything we do is done with one end goal in mind: helping our children grow into healthy, happy, smart, productive adults. And I think we try to provide for each of our children equally.
But just for a moment, I want to focus on the girls.
The video posted here has been making the social media rounds for the past month:
While I normally don’t buy into statistics without knowing the sources and methodology behind their calculation, the numbers in this video were lopsided enough to give me pause. Only 16% of America’s business leaders are women? Only 18% of legal leaders? Only 21% in nonprofit, a field we often think of as more willing to accept female leadership?
I was horrified, to be perfectly honest. I probably shouldn’t have been; I’m a huge fan of Sheryl Sandberg, who quotes statistics like these all the time. But I was. And more than ever, I wanted to lean in for our two girls, H’s and mine.
The truth is I have struggled with being a working mom ever since my oldest child was born and my maternity leave ended and I headed back to the office. It is incredibly hard to leave that precious baby, that tiny person who is suddenly the center-point of your entire world, in the care of another person while you go off to work everyday. Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably lying.
But I believe in the value of equal power in the home and in the workforce. I believe in my core that women in leadership roles across a variety of industries and settings and governments will ultimately make things better for all of us. And that is why I hug and kiss my wonderful kids goodbye each morning and head to the office, and that’s why H and I are throwing our energy and our passion into this project. We are demonstrating to our children (both the boys and the girls) every single day that mommies have important roles in the working world and can build meaningful careers just like daddies. And we are helping to pave and smooth the path on which our daughters will walk when they become adults and must make their own choices about whether or not to focus on their own careers.
I want my daughter to be a leader. I believe H wants the same for hers. At the very least, we want them to have the option to pursue leadership. And that is one very important reason why we are on this wild ride together.
Not only are we trying to ease the way for our own daughters, we are trying to create something that will make it just a little bit easier for other moms to pursue their careers should they choose to do so. We hope we are handing them a tool, just one small tool to add to their arsenal, to make their challenges a little less daunting. Because the world needs more women in leadership roles, and we are going to do what we can to help get that done.