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Reflections on Women’s History Month

Maureen Edobor

Maureen Edobor

Last month I attended a wonderful Women’s History Month lecture titled “Political Involvement: Why It’s Important & How to Do It,” sponsored by the Women’s Bar Association of Maryland, the Monumental Bar Association and the historical committee of the Bar Association of Baltimore City. Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, Georgia H. Goslee, Esq., Odette Ramos and Alicia Wilson, Esq. were among the panelists. I do not believe a written summary will do the event justice, so I will share just a few lessons that I distilled from the panelists’ remarks:

  1. Tenacity of purpose. This was a quality common to all the panelists. The women spoke eloquently about how their careers were fueled by a deeper purpose and the sense of a higher calling. Not to get too “Oprah” on you here, but there is nobility in the women’s choice not simply to pursue monetary success, but to go after moral success and an impact on their community that ultimately will earn them a spot in history. This is not to say that women shouldn’t pursue economic success, especially since we historically have been denied the ability to accumulate wealth. I simply want to underscore the selflessness of living a life with a purpose greater than making as much money as possible.
  1. Women should help women. In telling the story of their lives as young women, the panelists, intentionally and unintentionally, highlighted the advice and counsel and companionship of their mothers and their women bosses, colleagues and friends. When women hold the door open for each other, invite each other to a seat at the table and support one another in every aspect of life, they facilitate women’s progress in breaking the glass ceiling and becoming fully represented and included in society. I am not advocating a blanket gendered alliance, only a commitment to working with other women instead of against them and cultivating a spirit of mutual investment rather than competition.
  1. Lean in as much as you can. Yes, I referenced Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, with a caveat: I am not here to argue for or against Ms. Sandberg’s theory on feminism or gender equity. However, I do believe “leaning in” best describes how the women on the panel got involved in their respective lines of work. I heard plenty of anecdotes about how important it was to make sure that you establish your own presence, as you cannot count on anyone else to do it for you, especially in male-dominated professions. Though society has made progress on gender equity, women are still perceived as having less of an executive presence than men. In overcoming this perception – or hurdle — the panelists spoke of the importance of leaning in to your intelligence and confidence in your qualifications.

Many more lessons, hilarious stories and inspiring moments from the panel are etched in my mind (and in my Notes app). If you have yet to attend a Women’s Bar Association event, I highly recommend you do so. You can find information about upcoming events here.

Maureen Edobor is an associate with Goldberg Segalla, LLP in Baltimore.