By Madeleine Post, Staff Writer

Indian women install solar energy units at Barefoot College, where they're learning how to bring various technologies to their rural villages. 

Indian women install solar energy units at Barefoot College, where they're learning how to bring various technologies to their rural villages. 

Every woman desires to do great things.  Every woman has the potential and responsibility to contribute to the common good, to effect something great for the human family.  Yet in the lives of most women, an apparent tension gradually unfolds: a tension between family and career.  This reality is especially true of millennial women, and it’s overwhelmingly clear where the pendulum is swinging when it comes millennials’ decisions between family and career life.  Since the 1990’s, moms — particularly college-educated moms — are increasing their parenting time by over 9 hours per week.  While millennial moms statistically value family over career, they deem career significant nevertheless.  Generation Y’s mothers are seeking career alternatives to typical 9-5’s in order to effectively balance career and family life.  Many of these mothers are utilizing our technologically integrated age in accomplishing their career goals. 

One Brilliant Start-up

One mom, utilizing her teaching and parenting experience, has exemplified successful entrepreneurship.  In 1997, stay-at-home mom Julie Aigner-Clarke developed a VHS tape then entitled “Baby Einstein” — now the name of the multi million dollar company. Baby Einstein videos aid in the intellectual formation of infants, toddlers, and children.  The Baby Einstein logo is present in 65% of American households.  Julie recently sold Baby Einstein to the Walt Disney Company and is now a prominent speaker, philanthropist, and advisor for YouTube on the topic of Children and Media.  Julie’s parenting experience lead to one of the most brilliant start-ups in America, not to mention a variety of other accomplishments benefitting children and parents around the world.

The Tech Savvy Mom

Julie isn’t the only expert on children and media. Leticia Barr professionally writes for Tech Savvy Momma — a blog focusing on technology’s impact on children.  At Tech Savvy Momma, Leticia writes on issues related to screen time, educational apps, social media, as well as other relevant tech-oriented tops.  Prior to writing for Tech Savvy Momma, Leticia was a mother of two young children with a background in classroom technology, as well as a school administration.  These educational skills enabled her to share her parenting experiences — particularly in relation to technology — with other parents.  Since the founding of Tech Savvy Momma, the site has gained 4,255 followers.  Julie has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Parents Magazine’s Editors’ Pick for Best Tech Blog, Babble’s Top 100 Mom Blogs. You can follow Letitia on Titter @TechSavvyMama.

Today’s True Family Leaders

In Edinburgh, Scotland, TED speaker Bunker Roy addressed an audience discussed his own educational experience in India — one he described as “elite” and “snobbish.”  He described this education as differing acutely from another sort of education: one he earned while working in a rural, Indian village for a year as an experiment.  This educational experience lead Bunker Roy to found Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India.  In his TED talk, Bunker Roy described the College as granting no certificates.  “You are certified by the community you serve,” he explained.  The College focuses on educating rural individuals in solar energy, dentistry, medicine, and other technological skills — all of which they’re encouraged to bring back to their communities.  While the College educates men, as well as women, the College has a special focus on the education of grandmothers.  After Gul Bahar, a grandmother from Afgahnistan, installed over 200 solar units in her village after studying at Barefoot College.  Barefoot College has educated grandmothers in solar energy from in Sierra-Leon and Gembia, as well.  According to Bunker Roy, grandmothers are the familial leaders in their rural village communities. These grandmothers are leading their communities to more successful futures.

Technology is enabling moms from every generation to make differences in the world around them, whether those differences involve educating rural communities or advising parents on children’s media usage.  These differences represent authentic empowerment: empowerment that can change lives around the globe, and motivate women from generation to generation.

First they know you, then they fight you, then they laugh at you, and then you win.
— Ghandi