Everyone has a story. All of our stories are different regardless of who we are, where we come from or the color of our skin. Some stories make major impacts in our lives, ones that we will never forget. There are the ones that we return to over and over again. To remember the emotional impact, to wonder if it would happen today, and to think has anything changed.
These days, perhaps it is about turning 59, but I am thinking a lot about the generations of women behind me and particularly my daughters. Has the world changed for them around motherhood and a career? They both work for themselves so perhaps in some ways that makes things easier.
There are a few of my stories I have been thinking about and the impact they made on me. Would they happen today?
In college, I went with my boyfriend to visit a friend on the Cape. They were locals of the area. When I met our friends parents they interrogated me with questions about where I was from. I was born in Los Angeles was definitely not the answer they were looking for. They wanted to know if I was a Jew. It freaked me out. It was late and my boyfriend wanted to know if we should just spend the night there and I refused. I was fearful I’d be killed in my sleep.
The other story is when Fred was thinking of going on his own in the venture world. He had found someone he liked doing business with and so we got together as couples. Always good to know the other half when you plan on getting in to business bed with someone. The four of us went to dinner. The wife spent the entire evening saying nothing and sat rotated away from the three of us. I felt extremely male in this super weird way that evening. I can’t really explain it but it made me feel uncomfortable sitting next to a woman who seemed meek and it pained me. Needless to say, Fred did not go into business with him.
Another one was a guy we know was telling me that I should connect with this woman for the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival. He said to tell Fred to email her because she will respond to him (btw, Fred did not know her) and then he can make the intro. It was so insanely chauvinist that I did not respond well. Fred said to me you know the guy is a misogynist why did you respond that way? Because you have no idea how it is to be me.
So many women feel that way every god damn day and we shouldn’t have to. I am a bit fearful seeing less women get funded again and struggling with kids at home. Perhaps that is also whirling around in my brain. We are now all concentrating on more Black and Latino founders although we should have all along but that is for another time. I applaud those investments because I have done them myself. It is important to not lose track of the women. We do not want to have another group of companies that are only men when the only difference would be an assortment of different faces.
Women have made major inroads but don’t stop here. We need to keep moving in the right direction where there is more equality and less stories like mine.