Independence Day always makes me think far beyond what happened on July 4, 1776, when those nice land-owning white men in Philadelphia did not “remember the ladies” or outlaw slavery. Centuries later, after courage, hard work, and, sadly, the loss of life, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is assumed to apply to all.
For me, though, I can’t help but think about women on Independence Day, and my thoughts this year prompted me to reach out to clients and friends whose businesses and organizations resonate with women’s independence. Perhaps you will see yourself in this list, or adopt some of these ideas!
This is a big one. Women, for the most part, me included, were raised (subtly or not-so-subtly) with the idea that a man would always be there to take care of us financially. It’s just so not true (and not fair to men, by the way). Even if you’re happily married to a man who plays the provider role, he could leave or die at any time. Women have GOT to educate themselves about their own finances to be able to care for themselves. Women still outlive men. We need to know what’s going on to prepare for our future.
Another financial area involves securing the financial independence of the next generation. Many parents are in a position to make sure their kids don’t have to struggle with a down payment on a house, college tuition, starting a business – whatever it might be. For these fortunate families, how wonderful to pass on the gift of financial independence thus enabling their children to follow their dreams and not worry from paycheck to paycheck.
There’s also the subject of micro loans, and organizations like KIVA who have transformed communities around the world by funding woman-owned businesses. It is AMAZING how far American dollars will go, and how much good they will do. KIVA and others give money to the women because women invest in their business, community, and family. Men buy guns.
We women are notoriously bad about taking care of our own health. We put everyone else first, and then we wonder why we start to deteriorate! Can you use the excuse of July 4 to reach more women with the empowering message, “You come first, or you won’t be able to help anyone else?”
If you’re an attorney, how are you helping women extricate themselves from difficult situations to achieve greater control over their lives? Taken to the extreme, do you work with victims of domestic violence? Use the goal of “independence” to reach out to donors or volunteers. Listen to Martina McBride’s song “Independence Day” for inspiration.
Are you a coach, member of the clergy, or therapist? Plenty of women are so busy with work and family they don’t take the time to feed their spirit. The result? At some point, they crash. How can you send the message that this scenario is really not okay, and that there are options?
Are you an educator or program planner? There are so many talented women artists of all stripes who squash their talent because other people and responsibilities take priority. This can be soul- and mind-deadening. Everyone needs an outlet for artistic expression. Use July 4 to inspire them!
How can you help a woman entrepreneur start her business? More women than ever – and more than men – are doing so in droves but for many they go into debt and really struggle before the business takes off. How can you help alleviate the stress and struggle?
I hope I’ve given you some ideas, and I would love to hear from you if I have!
2012 © Bonnie Hurd Smith
Bonnie Hurd Smith, the President and CEO of History Smiths, is an expert on using history in new and innovative ways. She is a marketing, PR, event planning, and cultural tourism professional who also happens to be a respected historian (especially women's history), author, and public speaker.