Nora Ephron gave this speech to her alma mater; Wellesley College class of 1996, on their commencement day. Seventeen years later, everything about this speech remains just as poignant. We still face the same struggles; feminism, sexism, women’s rights, rape, the push up bra…amongst many others. In 1996 Ms Ephron thought society had come a long way from her time at Wellesley, Class of 1962; when there was a strict quota on the number of jews admitted, a large disparity between Caucasians, African- American and Asian students, when a fundamental part of a woman’s education was how to enter and exit cars appropriately, there were no pantyhose and six women were thrown out of Wellesley for being Lesbians.
Today, we’ve come even further but there is so much farther to go. In this speech she communicated that more than anything, married or single; Women are more than wonderbras and sexy quotas and it was up to us to harness our power because society wasn’t prepared to acknowledge us as anything more than window dressing. If we had to be rebellious, so be it.
This speech was important then and even more important now. Listen to it.
Don’t waste the better days of your life stuck as that thing in the middle and spend the rest of it making nice. Be the woman you always wanted to be. Embrace it. Celebrate it. It doesn’t make you less powerful, it doesn’t make you less of a human being, it makes you a leader and paves the way for future generations.
Here’s hoping you will be the heroine of your life and not a first lady in the life of a big man.
Happy International Women’s Day.