This week, I found myself sitting in my New York City hotel room trying to gather my thoughts as I reflected on the wide range of emotions that I’ve felt over the last few days. I found myself thinking about how I’ve felt inspired, ignited and encouraged as I’ve witnessed so many different women take my breath away.
Sunday night at the Emmy’s, award-winning actress Alex Borstein used her acceptance speech to speak about her grandmother, who barely survived the Holocaust. Borstein said that her grandmother dared to “step out of line," even though she was at risk of being shot. In doing so, her grandmother saved her life, and ultimately created a life that allowed for Borstein and her children to be here today.
“So, step out of line, ladies,” Borstein said as she clutched her Emmy. “Step out of line.”
Her words really landed with me. They made me think about the other women I admire who have used their voices to bravely “step out of line.”
Greta Thunberg stepped out of line in the best way possible this week when she addressed world leaders gathered at the U.N. Climate Action Summit and asked, “How dare you!” Thunberg accused them of speaking empty words about fighting climate change, all while our people and the planet suffer.
"This is all wrong,” she said to them in tears. “I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean."
Thunberg’s courage, passion and anger brought the U.N. to a standstill. The 16-year-old Swedish activist, who is nominated for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded the 2019 Right Livelihood Award (Sweden’s alternative Nobel Prize) just a day after her U.N. address.
Another woman who “stepped out of line” in her own beautiful way was Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver. Oliver passed away in January, but I fondly remembered her this week as I spoke at a memorial in New York City that celebrated her life and work.
Oliver didn’t take a conventional approach to her life, either. She stepped out of line by leaving her roots in Ohio and chasing after her “one wild and previous life.” Through her powerful voice and words, she challenged us all to do the same.
In her own way, and in her own time, Oliver posed a question similar to Thunberg’s: If you only have one chance at life, are you going to stand in line, or are you going to step out and make your voice heard?
Of course, this week in politics, all eyes were on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi as she began impeachment hearings against President Trump. I found myself glued to the TV all week as I watched this stunning national story play out in real-time. No matter your political persuasion, I hope you can recognize that this was a moment of daring for Pelosi, who has been under pressure for months. She seized the moment and stepped out when she felt it was right and absolutely necessary.
I believe that women of all ages and generations are discovering that the only way to get something done is indeed by “stepping out of line.” In fact, this week as I sat down with women over 50 for a conversation on TODAY, I was struck by how they have learned to “step out of line” and rewrite the narrative about what it means to be a woman of their age.