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Trailblazing Women: An Ode to My Upbringing and the Life Lessons That Came with It

Happy Women’s History Month! This month is dedicated to celebrating the brave women that paved the way for us today.  Their courage, grit and foresight gave way to rights, freedoms and new cultural norms.

I am very proud to have been born and raised in Seneca Falls, NY- known as the Birthplace of Women’s Rights.  I grew up across the street from Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s House on Washington Street- one of the founding mothers of the Women’s Rights Convention held in our town in 1848. I even went to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Elementary School. 

The convention’s goal was to improve and protect the social, civil and religious rights of women. It was for that event the Cady Stanton famously wrote in the Declaration of Sentiments, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal.” This was the start of a movement that lead to the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920- giving women the right to vote.

Growing up in this little town instilled in me so many values from other famous trailblazing women:  Susan B. Anthony, Lucretia Mott, Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, Harriet Tubman and so many more.  I learned about courage, empowerment, resiliency and standing up for what you believe. 

Each year the convention was celebrated during “Convention Days” where the reenactment of the convention was the main event, with feminist book signing, marches and the Women’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.  I have so many memories of watching friends and family participate in the reenactment, and the fun of those Convention Days.

The women that put all the activities together were members of our community and family friends- their activism and passion for women equality were infused into my daily life. Dinner party conversations in our house were rich with passionate discussions, debates and hopeful forecasting of the future. 

All these little moments, big events and daily influences contributed to my core values and created valuable life lessons I carry today:

  • Bold women came before us and did hard things - don’t waste their efforts and keep moving forward.

  • Live courageously:  Elizabth Cady Stanton said it best, “The best protection any woman can have... is courage”.

  • Be independent and self-reliant.  But also find your tribe and do great things.  In other words, we need to be able to take care and advocate for ourselves, but we are better in numbers, especially with like-minded allies.

  • Be unapologetically you- bring your bold, new ideas.  Don’t conform- we can make our own way and in turn, help other women along the way.

  • You can do anything!!! Remember Elizabeth Cady Stanton could not vote or own property.  Her convictions, courage and never giving up changed that!

I know how lucky I was to grow up in that rich environment surrounded by inspirational women and history.  This month, we can all celebrate these women for all they laid out for us today. What are your women empowerment lessons you have gathered?  I can’t wait to hear. 

Happy Women’s History Month!

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