Every December, before hosting the family Christmas party, I look around my house with a critical eye and get discouraged by the things I didn’t get during the year: a new kitchen, a farmer’s porch, a paint job. I know none of these things really matter; I do. And so to remind myself of what truly matters, and to focus on the good in the world, I like to make a list of the gifts I did receive throughout the year. Despite a few very stressful months, the loss of some wonderful family members, and some world events too tragic to comprehend, 2012 delivered many great gifts. Allow me to share some of them with you. And tell me, what were the best gifts you received?
Women raised their voices and effected positive change. Early in 2012, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the world’s largest breast cancer organization, pulled the funding for breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood centers. But women spoke up – loud and strong, and within the week, the organization reversed the decision. Women continued to speak up all through a year, and in November, helped re-elect President Obama, and defeat several candidates who did not support women’s health and rights.
Massachusetts said yes to Elizabeth Warren, the first woman from Massachusetts elected to the Senate. Likewise, Wisconsin and Hawaii also elected female senators for the first time: Tammy Baldwin and Mazie Hirono. North Dakota elected Heidi Heitkamp as the state’s first female Congresswoman. And following the November election, the 113th Congress will have 20 female senators and 78 Congresswomen, the highest number of women ever in U.S. history.
Mothers mobilized. Even at the local level, women were active. In March, a “network of busy mothers” elected a write-in candidate to our town’s school committee, following dissatisfaction with how some key issues were handled. And on a busy June morning, more than 100 women came out to see a screening of “Miss Representation” at our town theatre. They stayed a full hour after the film to discuss how we combat damaging media messages. And then in August, I was thrilled to attend a live-via-satellite discussion with President Obama at the BlogHer conference – a testament to the power and influence women wield online.
And at the hyper-local level, here at the blog, it was exciting to watch the Hello Ladies content expand to places like Moms Who Need Wine, The Huffington Post and an upcoming book. More to come in 2013…
Finally, despite my unfinished kitchen and chipped paint, I will spend Christmas with my family, and we will be okay.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year readers. I encourage you take a moment to reflect on the many gifts you received this year. And if you stop to share them here with us, even better.