The women I know are and have been the rocks of the families. Beyond my own mother, a deep respect for women took root when I was 23 years old. It was during my first trip to Central America. On that journey through dozens of small towns and villages, I vividly recall observing one scene -- again and again: girls and women doing back breaking work, toiling in fields, carrying heavy loads, looking after children -- and serving men. Despite the great strides women have made in most developed societies, there remains much work to do. Yet against that backdrop, I marvel at the perseverance of many women.
My mother's life is why I am the feminist I am. From the moment I saw her crying, holding her just-hit face, looking into my four-year-old eyes in helplessness, I knew she was something and I would dedicate my life to making her believe it. I once spoke at an event in which I touched on my mother's story. Imagine my surprise when I was later informed, by a woman no less, that one man in the audience didn't like my saying that I was a feminist and said that those he was with felt the same way. She hoped it would be food for thought for me.