When Whoopi Goldberg was a little girl she loved watching Star Trek. The following is a story she tells about her relationship with that show. She remembers seeing the character Uhura for the first time and being absolutely floored. She had never seen a black woman on TV as anything other than a maid or in a service role.
Apparently the young Whoopi sat up and said, “Momma! There’s a black lady on TV and she ain’t no maid!”
In that moment she realised she could be anything that she wanted to be. She realised then that the future was open to her and anything was possible.
Whoopi Goldberg has a long career in stand up, film, hosting talk shows and advocating for human rights, women’s included. No doubt about it, Whoopi is kind of a big deal and it all started with seeing a black woman in a position of respect and power.
This week I attended the opening of One Roof Coworking. Yes, another coworking space has opened in Melbourne, not usual in the scheme of things. What is unusual is that it is a female focused coworking space, the intention is to attract female entrepreneurs, cofounders and CEOs in the start up and business community.
I know what you are thinking. I thought the same thing, “How is separating women into their own space a solution to some of the problems currently happening in society?”
I used to agree until I heard the story about Whoopi Goldberg. I understood that sometimes it is important to put yourself in a place where you will be seen. So that someone who identifies with you, will see you and understand what is possible.
I think this is important. Not so women can be separated or secluded or sequestered, but so we can easily be found. If there is someone thinking can I do that, is that path open to me? I want to be there to help, to be found and be seen.