I had two extraordinary meetings with amazing women this week.
My friend Julia Knight, CEO of Julia Knight Designs, had a dinner party to host the Women In Justice program honorees. Women in Justice is a state program to introduce foreign women to the American justice system.
The women I met were amazing. A superior court judge from Albania, a lawyer from India, a police inspector from Indonesia. They’d grown up in traditional families and have risen to the top of their fields in countries where some women are still forced into arranged marriages or sold as sex slaves. (This also tragically sometimes happens in the U.S.)
After we went around the table to introduce ourselves, the conversation turned into one I could have been having with my sister and best friends. Uma, an attorney at the Kerala High Court in India, works with her husband, who she let’s think is the boss but we all knew better.
The police inspector from Indonesia said her husband, also a police officer but not as high-ranking as she, was happy she was chosen for the prestigious Women In Justice program but told her she better not extend her visit to the U.S. because he couldn’t handle their three kids one day longer.
The Albanian superior court judge, Alba, complained about how sassy her son was… she’s a superior court judge and even she has trouble controlling a teenage boy!
Yes, my global sisters, we are all the same. Our esteemed visitors had to get back to their hotel and just the Americans were left. Presidents of companies, inventors, CEO’s — the girl power in this room was palpable.
I tried to pump them for as much knowledge, information and advice as I could, yet the conversation meandered to child-rearing, cost of college and betrayal from ex-partners. Yes, my American sisters were are all the same.
This sentiment was echoed when I met Mariel Hemingway, the actress, author, and granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway.
Mariel was in town this weekend to participate in a Cambria event at the Mall of America, but she’s also a colleague of a friend. She, two other women and I all met over drinks. Mariel didn’t need a glass of wine to be comfortable in the company of strangers and she regaled us of stories of her ex-husband, two nearly grown daughters and dating post-divorce.
There we were, four girls chatting about life, kids, and boys. Hemingway royalty to plain old talk show host. Yes, girls, we are all the same.
Whoever said women are catty, clearly you haven’t met the right women. Women are amazing, loving, giving, forgiving and accepting. We are strong and similar. We all love beautiful clothes, beautiful men, other beautiful women and good food. But the women who feed each other’s souls are the ones who are open. And the most successful women are often the most open.
We all struggle, and often fail, but I learned this week that there are billions of women around the globe just trying to do their best every day, just like me. No one has the answers; fresh teenagers, insecure partners, and self-doubt know no borders. I’m so grateful to know I’m not alone. And neither are you.
Mariel Hemingway was on the show Tuesday morning, and Mrs. Uma Sateesh Murtee was on the show Wednesday morning.