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Women generally enter the new business arena between the ages of 40 to 60 years old. Why?
Over 60 women have shared their stories as our Pink Ladders Women of Focus. Those women attribute their impetus to starting a new business to life changes such as divorce, layoffs, position as sole earner in the household; and a desire to be at the helm of their own career.
Lynn Worsley of All Women Recycling located in Cape Town, South Africa is our next Woman of Focus. She started her business at 51 years old after a divorce that left her financially troubled. She found a way to create artful boxes called Kliketykliks using recycled bottles. She employs local women who have been unemployed for two years. Providing employment to women and herself; and supporting the environment are Lynn’s whys for starting a business.
Empowering others and contributing to social causes, and environmental sustainability are some of the whys women start a business. They want their time at work to be meaningful, utilizing their expertise while allowing for their own creativity.
If you are a business owner or are thinking about starting a new venture, you are in good company. One out of every eleven women in the United States is an entrepreneur. Women business owners contribute to the overall employment of 18 million workers and generate from $2 to $3 trillion in U.S. economy revenues, according to Go 4 Funding.
What are the whys for starting your business?
Do you have career development goals? 151 million women populate the United States and of those women 72 million are working, and 40 percent of those women are working in management or professional positions. To gain, keep and advance in your job, career development goals are key.
Development goals would include a plan to obtain or increase your skills. And this can be done at home or in a cafe. All you need is WiFi and a computer.
This could mean learning new software programs online while seeking employment or after work hours. Sites such as Lynda.com offer software tutorials and courses from Excel to 3D animation. Acquire certifications to show your value to an employer. This can be done online through a series of classes followed by a test; Microsoft offers a certification program through online training. Look at universities offering online courses for certification programs and advanced degrees. Cornell University offers certifications in professional development through eCornell.
Choose a favorite location, open your laptop and climb your Pink Ladder.
March is Women’s History Month. Remember women fought for the the right to vote in the United States; and finally in 1920 the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution was passed – only 92 years ago – giving us the right. Although we experience many opportunities, they were hard won. Imagine today without the right to vote, plus prevented from owning property, attending some colleges, and working in many professions.
Today, women have surpassed men in college attendance in all academic levels. As a result, women are now supplanting men as the majority primary breadwinners in the United States.
As of the 2010 census, women outnumber men in the country: 157 million women to 151.8 million men. Women over 85 years old more than outnumber men by half.
Revenue generated from the 7.8 million women owned businesses totaled $1.2 trillion, according to the 2007 survey. And, 7.5 million people are employed by these women owned businesses.
Of the employed women 16 and older 40.6% worked in management and professional occupations compared to 34.2 % of employed men, according to the 2010 census.
More women were registered to vote than men in the 2010 election.
Black History Month is every February and it carries a theme. The theme for 2012 is Black Women in American History and Culture. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History chose this theme because although the roles of African American women have been pivotal in directing the advancement of our culture, their stories have been largely omitted.
“The accomplishments of these exceptional women are the expressions of a vibrant culture in which African American women play a singular role. The labors, struggles, organization, and sacrifices of common women have made possible the prominence of heralded individuals. In churches, community groups, literary societies, sororities, and advocacy organizations, African American women have been the core of organized black life, but here their strivings have often escaped the gaze of the public and hence their history is too little known.”
According to the NAACP, ”This tradition of Black History Month goes back to the beginning of the 20th Century. NAACP leader and legendary historian and educator Carter G. Woodson originally founded “Negro History Week” in 1926, at a time when most history books simply omitted any African-American history and the central role African-Americans played in the birth of America as we know it. Woodson chose February because it coincided with the birthdays of two men who fought for freedom of American slaves: Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. In 1976, Negro History Week was expanded to Black History Month. Since then, Black History Month has offered an opportunity to study, reflect on, and redefine our ongoing legacy in American history.”
The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the 19th Smithsonian museum. The opening of this museum is targeted for 2015. The building will set where “lives were once traded, where hundreds of thousands once marched for jobs and for freedom,” President Barack Obama said. “It was here that the pillars of democracy were built often by black hands.”
“We must tell the story, the whole story…a 400-year story of African Americans’ contributions to this nation’s history from slavery to the present — without anger or apology,” says Civil rights veteran Rep. John Lewis of Georgia.
The stories of the black women who have been climbing their pink ladders will be told too.
The first annual Pink Ladders’ dinner was a pink event resplendent with a pink dazzling tree, a strawberry filling cake sporting the Pink Ladders’ logo, and buffet table covered with a pink cloth lined with twelve dishes made from recipes shared by the Pink Ladders’ Women of Focus in 2011.
The dishes were all made in one day by the Pink Ladders’ staff and displayed under the photographs of the women who contributed their favorites. Prior to serving ourselves, a synopsis of each woman’s career and significance of their recipe was read aloud to the dinner guests as champagne was poured and the women were toasted.
All guests wore pink in some fashion in the form of bright pink ties on black button down shirts, pink shoes, pink scarves, pink nail polish or pink sweaters. We made our way to the dining room with full plates where pink glowed all about. All the dishes made from the recipes were uniquely delectable.
Why pink? Well, pink of Pink Ladders. And, pink in Pink Ladders represents women climbing their career ladders. Plus, pink signifies femininity according to color psychology. ”Pink is a sign of hope that calms and reassures our emotional energies, alleviating feelings of anger, aggression, resentment, abandonment and neglect. Pink is intuitive and insightful, showing tenderness and kindness with empathy and sensitivity.”
“Pink is a combination of red and white, pink contains the need for action of red, helping it to achieve the potential for success and insight offered by white. It is the passion and power of red softened with the purity, openness and completeness of white. The deeper the pink, the more passion and energy it exhibits.”
Pink inspires the possibility of a positive outcome. This is Pink Ladders, honored to be a repository for inspirational stories of our monthly Women of Focus.
So pink it is and so pink was the Pink Ladders’ dinner.
Fall or autumn is upon most us now. This is a time where melancholy begins to set in for some, when temperatures begin to drop and deciduous trees lose their leaves. Some hunker down just like the foliage, sort of wrapping up until spring opens the door. Some of us start to feel anxious just anticipating the string of holidays to begin.
Ideas are thought about and implementation is already sliding for “after the holidays”. Soon implementation becomes a spring fling. Another year then puts our ideas right where we started the year prior.
How about now making Fall to Begin this time.
Let’s pull out our Pink Ladders’ Task Manager or similar facsimile and reacquaint ourselves with our goals. Let’s rethink relevancy and importance. We can do this as we read our affirmations out loud. Shall we add to them, drop some and rewrite.
Take the time to think about your affirmations. These reflect the you that you see.
Then let’s look at goals. Do these goals produce your affirmations? Once the goals are reached, the affirmations are realized. Now let’s look at tasks. Personal tasks and work tasks are the elements required to reach your goals. The tasks involve all things such as open new bank account, pick up the dry cleaning, send out a resume’, or clean out the barn. Jot down tasks and add a completion date. These tasks bring you to your goals. For example, if you plan to move, write down all the tasks to complete in order to move.
As the tasks are completed, cross them out, highlight them or develop your own visual code to show at a glance that progress has been made. Soon pages will be completed and it will be evident that your goals are more than words. Add new tasks daily, weekly or as needed. These tasks make the words written or uttered real and alive. Check back with your task manager. This is a tool to realize your affirmations. When you look back and wonder how you got here, you will know.
Work your ideas. Make the Fall to Begin.
“Change is a measure of time and, in the autumn, time seems speeded up. What was is not and never again will be; what is is change.”
~ Edwin Teale
Now that summer has been in full swing, many of us have been sporting swim suits, shorts and tank tops – much to the chagrin of most American women who are taken aback when they look at their reflection. Many women are dissatisfied with their body image and this cuts into their self image.
“We do not develop our body image all on our own. The people around us and our culture strongly influence it. We get both positive and negative messages about our bodies from family and friends all the time — starting from when we’re very young. We also get messages about body image from television, magazines, films, and other media. Many of the beliefs we have about the way women and men should look come from the models and celebrities we see in the media. But models and celebrities do not look like most people. For example, on average, women who are models have very different builds. They weigh 23 percent less than women who are not models,” according to Planned Parenthood.
If we look around us, bodies in the real world are all unique and diverse. Our life stages shape us from puberty to menopause. Many factors such as stress, age and disabilities affect our appearance.
Here are twenty ways to love your body from the National Eating Disorders Association:
1.Think of your body as the vehicle to your dreams. Honor it. Respect it. Fuel it.
“Don’t weigh your self esteem, it is what’s inside that counts.”
With its quiet, precise movements, Yoga draws your focus away from your busy, chaotic day and toward calm as you move your body through poses that require balance and concentration, according to the Mayo Clinic.
I began my Yoga practice nearly two years ago when I met Pilar Redmond at the local farmers’ market. Newly certified as a Yoga instructor, she was looking for a place to offer classes. I offered my home and gathered a few friends and neighbors to meet Friday afternoons to see what all this Yoga hoopla was all about. None of us had practiced Yoga.
Our age ranged from mid 40s to mid 60s and we were mainly women. We all varied in our fitness levels and we all attended with with our injuries and ailments. Pilar’s manner was calming and accepting of our varied abilities. She was creative in weaving together poses or asanas into an artistic flow of movement.
We all began to look forward to our Friday afternoons with Yoga and Pilar. We started noticing how calm and relaxed we felt after class. A significant decrease in mind chatter was noted. The breathing exercises along with the movement pulled us into the moment, bringing focus to the present. This exercise opened space in our minds for just being.
Our shared Yoga experience has brought us through our own life experiences. Together in practice we live through cancer, divorce, death, injuries, losing a home, birth of children and grandchildren, unemployment, new employment, advanced degrees, authoring books and more.
Today, with newly developed strength, we are holding poses we did not know our bodies could. According to the Mayo Clinic, Yoga might help with a variety of health conditions, such as cancer, depression, pain, anxiety and insomnia, by helping with sleep problems, fatigue and mood. Yoga also can help reduce heart rate and blood pressure. As you learn and refine new poses, you may enjoy improved balance, flexibility, range of motion and strength. And this means you’re less likely to injure yourself in other physical endeavors or in your daily activities.
Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured, says B.K.S. Iyengar.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday for honoring soldiers who died in military service. This day is observed on the last Monday of May. Over 4600 American military men and women have died so far in the War on Terrorism in these two operations: 2001 Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and the 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq). Of these fatalities, 2.4% were women who make up 16% of the department of defense force. Over 4500 deaths have been men who comprise 97.6% of the force.
These stats represent real people whose departure from this world has a heart wrenching impact on those close. Appreciation, gratitude and sadness is felt from people across the country for these men and women, on this day.
Memorial Day was initially known as Decoration Day to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the American Civil War. After World War I, this day commemorated all our fallen soldiers who have died in all wars. Decoration Day was changed to Memorial Day in memory and honor of those who gave their lives fighting for a common cause. This total so far is over 340,000 people. Of this total is William Newman.