After recapping the Lawrence Summers speech that trashed women in the sciences, I started thinking about what I've done since his speech more than a year ago. At the time I was angry, disgusted, disappointed, and motivated to participate in some kind of change for women who work--in the sciences or elsewhere. I wanted to be the voice for women who felt that they had no voice when it came to maternity leaves and job-shares. I wanted to rally women to speak out for what they needed and deserved in their jobs when it came to creating realistic expectations for balancing work with home.
But in the end, I have done little to nothing besides spout about inequities. I have been angered when women I know can't find what they are looking for and give up. I have been saddened by the stories I hear. I have been discouraged. In my own private life, I didn't want to curl up and give up on myself. So in that aspect, I have had some success. From a minor freelance stint to a regular part-time writing job, I have been successful. But what has that done for other women?
Several months ago, I even gave myself an assignment to get involved with two groups that work to help parents achieve fairer choices about returning to work post-baby--whether it were job shares, longer maternity leaves, paternity leaves, or flexible hours. And I even failed at that simple task of reaching out to say that I'm here to help, I want to help.
Maybe it's just the journalist in me, reporting what I see, but not really getting involved. The reporter isn't the story. If the reporter becomes part of the story, the story has failed. I suppose I need to stop thinking of myself as a reporter. I'm not a reporter. I have not been a reporter for many years. I'm just a writer. And I'm a person. And I'm a mom. Maybe changing my perception of myself is the first step in motivating me to be a little bit more like the person I want to be.