International Women's Day

Welcome to my inaugural post on my blog My Life in Pink (La Vie en Rose).

This blog is about my life living with stage IV breast cancer and being a woman. It will be full of my liberal rants.  Read and share with a friend if you like what I have to say.  Read and share with two friends if you hate what I have to say.  I love the challenge.

Happy International Women's Day! 

I know white privilege.  I was born a middle class, WASP in the northeast of the United States of America.  I have a college education.  Hell, I have a graduate degree.  My only undoing?  A vagina.

That's right.  I'm not Jewish or Muslim.  My ancestors hail from exotic countries like England, Scotland and the Netherlands.  My skin is so white you can practically see through it.  I don't have an accent.  Not even a southern one.  My voice is the one on the radio or featured on television commercials. 

I went to an affluent public school where our teachers encouraged us to be whatever we wanted.  College was the expected path.  I didn't know any differently.  I could bring home a black guy to my family, just not a mean guy.  Yea, white privilege in the 1990's in the liberal northeast of the US.  Our town police chief was African-American and my town boasted the #1 liberal arts institution in the nation (albeit continually swapping that #1 ranking with two other institutions in the country as reported by US News and World Report).

I grew up, got my education, landed a nice job and then found myself on Saturday nights sitting around with my white friends, sipping our Pinot Noir in 4,000 square foot homes discussing how fortunate we were to be white, middle to upper class, living in the US, in the liberal northeast with high paying jobs and health insurance.  That is privilege.  Only thing I am missing?  A penis.

I have been in the same profession for 20 years.  That's right - 20 years.  I have a master's degree in my professional field.  I have been a supervisor for 13 years.  I have had numerous promotions.  Glowing reviews.  And a year and a half ago I found out that I was making more than $20,000 LESS than a male colleague, who had been in the profession three years, had only one direct report (I had two), was ten years younger, didn't have an advanced degree and his annual goals were lower than mine.  I complained and received a nice salary increase but am still $3,000 shy of his salary.  WHAT?!?!

I know, white people problems.  Wah wah, poor, Abbie.  But these are my problems in one of the most progressive countries in the world. I am an employer's wet dream. And still there isn't a level playing field for me.  So imagine what that says about every other woman in this country and the women around the world.

On this International Women's Day, don't settle because you have privilege.  Settle when you have equity. Settle when all of our sisters around the globe have that equity. 

So for my inaugural post I leave you with this amazing, poignant, passionate, on-point quote from one of my favorite women, Nora Ephron.  #BalanceforBetter

“Whatever you choose, however many roads you travel, I hope that you choose not to be a lady. I hope you will find some way to break the rules and make a little trouble out there. And I also hope that you will choose to make some of that trouble on behalf of women."

[Commencement Address, Wellesley College, 1996]”









Comments

  1. Hi Abbie, thanks for sharing your bold writing with all of us. I admire your candid style and willingness to take us on the road you’ve been traveling for some time.
    Not to take away from all of the important details, there is a small one that cracks me up because I also reference it fairly often to describe our area: the US News & World Report ranking. What is it with that? Did our teachers/parents/neighbors roll that out regularly? I was weirdly always aware of our school district’s standing in PA (fighting with Kobe’s Lower Merion for first in the state) and Swarthmore College’s standing in the country. I couldn’t believe you noted this too!
    I hope you are feeling well. I look forward to continuing to read/follow My Life in Pink.
    (Karen Stankus Gilbert)

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