I’m in the grey area between Gen Y and Z, so I’m a product of the many Gen X women who raised me, inspired me and challenged me.

Gen X women were born in the 70s and 80s when the ideals of having it all—stable marriage, perfect family, lucrative work—came disguised as female empowerment. What crippling expectations.

These women defied mathematics. There are only 24 hours in a day and having it all takes at least 36.

They challenged the gender norms of the time and proved that, in fact, you can have it all.

Because of that, I don’t have to be the perfect mum with the perfect kids. I don’t have to be married to the dreamiest spouse. I don’t have to cook like Nigella or clean like Marie Kondo. I don’t have to climb the corporate ladder and smash through glass ceilings.

I certainly don’t need to do all of that at the same time.

And because I’m lucky enough to work for an incredible Gen X woman, I don’t have to work twice as hard to earn the same as my male colleague.

Instead, I get to choose my values and the kind of woman I want to be.

To all you Gen X women who bravely went before: thank you. Because you worked so hard to challenge, I get to choose.

By Kate Wood as part of International Women’s Day 2021