“Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you’re better than us. I’m absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything… living standards and outcomes.”
President Obama said that last week.
I agree with him.
On a personal level, women have sparked and inspired the major decisions in my life. My mother sent me to St. Andrews College, which reinforced the values I learned growing up and introduced me to people who are still my best and most trusted friends. She kicked me in the butt after college when I was working construction and trying to figure out my place in the world. She told me to start applying to newspapers to become a journalist.
After a dozen years as a reporter, I was offered a job in Greensboro as an assistant city editor. I wasn’t going to take it because I didn’t like editors, and I didn’t think I’d be good at it. My then-girlfriend called me an idiot and told me to take the job. (She also proposed to me, and we have two daughters, who have obviously inspired all kinds of warm feelings within me.)
When I was one of half a dozen mid-level editors, I was chosen by a woman to become a trainer at the newspaper. I was paired with Jane Sharp, who taught me how to understand how organizations work, and how leaders motivate organizations.
When I decided I was ready to leave the newspaper business, it was again my wife who lit the fuse that got me out of there.
And it was a woman, Rosemary Roberts, who suggested I teach at Elon University.
This is not intended to denigrate the men who helped make things happen; they’ve had pivotal roles, of course. Especially my father. But most of the time the men were deciders, not inspirers. At virtually every fork in life’s journey, a woman has been standing there, pointing the way and pushing me forward.