This article was originally featured on The Utah Bee.
It is the most exciting time in history to be a woman. Only a few generations removed from women being granted the right to vote and own land, women can make the choice as to whether they want to have a career and what their professional path will look like. Today, women can make any choices they want regarding their future.
A few weeks ago, the Sego Awards were celebrated at Sundance to acknowledge the many incredible women from Utah the paths they’ve forged for themselves. Women like Susan Peterson, who started Freshly Picked from her home using materials she bought at a garage sale, were celebrated and honored. These women are leading multi-million-dollar empires, running businesses from their homes, working for themselves, and providing opportunities for other women in the state. They are in charge and they are setting their own schedules. And they are making money.
Rachel Parcell, famed blogger from Utah, won the social media category at the Sego Awards. Her speech was extremely eloquent and genuine. She mentioned that she created a business that allows her to focus on what’s most important to her; her family. She recalled that as a young girl she would dream about dresses in her math class, and now those dresses are a reality.
Utah ranks higher than the national average (and has for years) for growth in women-owned businesses. However, there are still improvements that need to be made, such as access to capital; something only 3% of female CEOs attain. But, that evening, every woman in the room was inspiring. More than ever, women can build their own dream life. While we have a lot of necessary discovery and growth to narrow our wage gap, I have every confidence it will happen in the near future.
To combat the problems in our state, everyone can start by showing girls the kind of life they can choose to live instead of asking them what they want to be when they grow up. They can choose to raise their children, climb the corporate ladder at a large company, or build something from scratch as an entrepreneur and sell their products online. As one female entrepreneur, Emily Ley puts it; “Your job is just one tiny part of your life. We talk so much about choosing jobs or selecting careers. But what if we chose a life instead?”