“This isn’t what we fought so hard for when we finally broke the glass ceiling, is it?” I heard this question posed while watching television. In this scene, a successful female lawyer and her law firm peer were confounded by the decision of a younger, promising female lawyer who just announced her intention to resign from her career in order to become a wife and mother. This was television’s attempt to be profound, reflecting what they considered a cultural phenomenon.
The glass ceiling they were speaking of is the battle waged in the ’60s and ’70s to create opportunity for females in the workplace. Opportunity for advancement, for holding the leadership positions rather than the clerical. To become the company president, not the company secretary. To choose paths without limitation. Indeed, it was a noble goal by many of that generation.
From cultural misconception…
I find it fascinating that this tends to be television’s only portrayal of females from the baby-boomer generation. Without a doubt, opportunity was created in the workplace for our gender, but some ladies seem to be stuck there, believing it’s the only choice of value. This is not true of the entire generation, but it is an accurate portrait of the most outspoken.
The same little girls of that generation grew up with fairy tale stories: Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Cinderella. These stories portrayed the finding of the glass slipper, prompting the quest of a prince to find the love of his life, marriage, a grand ball, and happily ever after. Unfortunately this dream evolved into many grown-up girls proclaiming, “It’s not real life.” They are correct; in some ways, it’s not, but in other ways, it can be.
There is no happily ever after every moment of every day, but there is a “you can have a great life filled with an abundance of happiness in all areas” out there.
…to finding your purpose.
If the glass ceiling generation of females meant what they said, that everything should be available and on the table for females, then you should be able to follow your own course based on your purpose—and that may include leaving a promising career for a family position. It could also be a combination of working in the job market and caring for your family simultaneously. Your individual path might leave you without a prince, but with an amazing career or life purpose that, by the very nature of who you are, is accomplished brilliantly.
I want all ladies to know this: the battle that was fought was meant to provide women with more opportunities—and that should mean freedom to choose your life course without restriction. Absolutely, positively choosing without one bit of constraint or judgment. You are here for a purpose, and you are meant to fulfill it. Each and every path open to a female has value and worth. You, my dear, were created to impact the world you are to be a part of. No matter what you choose—your workplace, your home front, your family, your community—each decision is to be purposed and lauded.
So girls, here you go, you break that glass ceiling, you grab that glass slipper, and you determine your life course. Don’t listen to the outspoken females that believe value is only found in careers. Disregard the home front army that believes anything other than that arena is without worth. Step back, find your purpose, then create your life. That’s what they said they fought for, that’s what should be.
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