We walk down the street from the Metro and stand outside for about five minutes-- we are early. No one wants to be the first one at a party. We stare at our screens until it is time to enter, and nervously, we do. We step into iStrategyLabs, a space that can only be described as cool. An adjective that is summoned (in part) by the high beamed ceilings, a renovated VW van clad with a TV, and a sparkling water machine. The room begins to fill with women of all ages, races, ethnicities and backgrounds. Young girls grab candy and giggle as the adult women fill their wine glasses. Sara, a full time non profit worker and part time photographer, snaps pictures of the whole ordeal. Despite her wonderful work, there is something in the room that a camera just can’t caption, a feeling. A feeling of belonging, positivity and empowerment.
The networking minutes tick by and soon we take our seats. The lights go out and the movie begins. The director and narrator, Erin Bagwell, takes the screen. Dream, Girlsixty odd minutes of relatable, powerful women talking to other relatable, powerful women plays and lifts the room higher. I may have even shed a tear. Four female business women take the stage with a trusty moderator to discuss their journey through careers, family, and life.
These four women are nothing short of inspirational. I could list their bios and their jobs but it would just send you down a path of 'why have I not done all of that'. They spend about 45 minutes relating their personal true stories to the eerily similar true stories highlighted in the film. They spill the truth and allow themselves to be vulnerable so that others could be inspired and empowered. And they leave me with some advice.
I talk to the moderator, Maggie Germano, and tell her one of my majors is Women and Gender Studies and what she is doing is important and simply feels right. She gives me a knowing smile and reminds me to always surround myself with people who will uplift me and support me. She tells me that it is easy to lose track of that but life is so much better when you’re surrounded by those who want to see you soar.
I leave feeling inspired by the women in the room and the women on the screen. But as Mehron Price pointed out, this conversation needs to go beyond women. So, take a man in your life to see this film. Invite men to panels of women discussing womanhood. We, as women, understand to some level being woman and what it means to be treated a set way by society. However, men do not. Film and panels like these need to be shared with the other half our population. We must support women and uplift together and forever.
Many thanks to Maggie Germano, Janice Omadeke, Mehron Price, LeAndria Streeter,Rachel Wynnand everyone behind the scenesfor all they did that night-- from inspiring the preteens in the room to reminding a gender studies student why she studies, being vulnerable on a stage in front of strangers, and having good snacks. Keep fighting the good fight, keep dreaming the good dream, and keep inspiring others to follow in the path paved by the women before you.