Am I the luckiest girl in the world to be able to talk to FOUR accomplished women in one day, role models for us all, four women who do what we are here on earth to do – live – and live well? You betcha! Fearless, witty, smart, savvy, winsome, wily each of their lives is a testament to a life well led. You will be intrigued by their journeys to success, appreciate the obstacles that life threw them and marvel at their ability to turn lemon into lemonade.
It is interesting that two of the women who I spoke with last week, Lila Garrett who wrote the scripts for some of the most popular sitcoms of the 60s and 70s, and Cynthia Helms, who was married to Richard Helms, the Director of the CIA are both octogenarians. They came from a time when women were relegated to the kitchen. Yet both women chose life paths different than most of their peers. They were groundbreakers for women of a later generation, who because of their lives had choices they otherwise wouldn’t have had…
…which is something that both women realize, and something that they both agree is a sad part of their legacy. Today, young women assume that everything is coming their way, as the song from the Oklahoma! the musical says. In fact, everything isn’t coming their way and they shouldn’t assume that it is. It is a reason for great concern when the fight for women’s liberation is considered a cause won. It is not. Consider that women in 2013 still don’t equal men in comparative men to women salaries. Women’s health care issues still are not deemed as important as men’s and women’s research studies lag behind men. How many CEO women are there as compared to men?
While it is true that women have more choices than ever, their choice-making has come at great expense. On a whole, women who work full-time jobs still are the one’s to run most households. These dual occupations have cost women much in their physical health. Today, cardiovascular disease has decreased among men, but continues to increase in women.
In speaking with women like Cynthia Helms, who joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in World War II, then took off for America from her native England, and divorced at a time when women simply didn’t do that, and Lila Garrett who broke through the walls of the male-ordered TV writing business, I’m reminded that it wasn’t that long ago when the choices we had today were a fight for our mothers.
It would be wise of all of you to remember that.