Women — I grew up surrounded by them. In my childhood home, the eight girls in our home shared one bathroom. Whether it was the one bathroom or the absence of testosterone in our home, it never occurred to me that I couldn’t do or be anything I wanted.
During college, I heard of a position opening up in the news department at a local television station. Being a journalism major, I figured I would insert my foot in the door sooner rather than later. The position was in production. So armed with zero experience, and probably less common sense, I applied, along with 150 other people, most with experience and completed degrees in the field. The only thing I came armed with was persistence. It was enough to get me the job.
I was one of only two females in the department. I didn’t even notice. I was there to get experience and climb the ladder. I came early and stayed late, learning everything I could about the industry. Despite my unwillingness to place a distinction between men and women in the industry, others did. One night, I found myself driving home nearly blinded with tears that were spilling from my previously untainted eyes. I had experienced real sexual harassment for the first time. I was confused, angry, hurt and, frankly, stunned.
After a night of reflection, I made a decision. There was no way I was going to let one degraded dude pollute my path. This decision empowered me to push forward. I filed a complaint and moved on.
The passing this past week of the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a model of women’s rights advocating and a great leader, inspired me to look again at our industry through the lens of a woman in business. Setting political ideologies aside, this was a leader of women.
Throughout the nation, approximately 64% of Realtors are women. That is a majority. However, to be a successful woman in this industry, regardless of whether it is a requirement of men as well, she has to maintain certain characteristics. For the record, RBG mastered these characteristics.
Women cannot make excuses. We say something and then we must do it. “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” (RBG)
We must be leaders in the industry, regardless of what industry it is. “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.” (RBG)
We must set examples of behavior we want to see in others and we should not accept less. “Reacting in anger or annoyance will not advance one’s ability to persuade.” (RBG)
We must live in a space of gratitude and express that gratitude often. Speaking of her friend, colleague and ideological opposite, she wrote, “How blessed I was to have a working colleague and dear friend of such captivating brilliance, high spirits and quick wit.”
R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsberg. You were a true visionary.