Think of them. Heads up, eyes on the target. Running. Full speed. Gravity be damned. Towards that thick layer of glass that is the ceiling. Running, full speed and crashing. Crashing into that ceiling and falling back. Crashing into it and falling back. Into it and falling back. Woman after woman. Each one running and each one crashing. And everyone falling.
How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?
So that when it was my turn to run, it didn’t even look like a ceiling anymore. I mean, the wind was already whistling through — I could always feel it on my face. And there were all these holes giving me a perfect view to other side. I didn’t even notice the gravity, I think it had worn itself away. So I didn’t have to fight as hard, I had time to study the cracks. I had time to decide where the air felt the rarest, where the wind was the coolest, where the view was the most soaring. I picked my spot in the glass and called it my target. And I ran. And when I hit finally that ceiling, it just exploded into dust.
Making it through the glass ceiling to the other side was simply a matter of running on a path created by every other woman’s footprints..."
- Shonda Rhimes, accepting her Sherry Lansing award at The Hollywood Reporter's Women in Hollywood Breakfast.
The entire speech can be found here and I urge you to read it in its entirety. It's worth a dozen reads. Ten dozen! It's a masterpiece, truly, and made me feel such gratitude for the past, such excitement for the future, and such total empowerment for NOW.
It is an overwhelming feeling to think about how far we still have to go as a human species. As women. As men. As a team. But whoa, we've come a long way. And that must be reflected upon. IT MUST BE.
"30 years ago, I’d think maybe there’d be a thousand secretaries fending off their handsy bosses back at the office and about two women in Hollywood in this room. And if I were here, I would serving those two women breakfast.
50 years ago, if women wanted to gather in a room, well it had better be about babies or charity work. And the brown women were in one room over there and the white women were in a room over here.
Shit has GOT to change, YES, but it's also important to pause and reflect on how much has. Great movement has been made -- an inch here, a mile there... and to walk this path, however rocky and jagged its edges, is to recognize those who have cleared the brush before us. Praise be to them. To everyone and anyone who has ever pushed and paved...
So, thank you, Shonda for your voice and grace. Your sisters may have held steady the bow, but your arrow is a force to behold -- a true bender and breaker and beam.