It’s a good time to be a girl.  

And I know this because my daughters don’t label themselves “feminists.”

Why don’t they take up the mantle? I used to ask myself. Don’t they understand that women have only had the right to vote for 98 years? Isn’t it appalling that the U.S. percentage of female elected officials of 19.4%  is almost 4 points below the world average of 23.3%? And as far as their mom’s story, yours truly, don’t they know how hard a young, short, ambitious woman worked to be taken seriously at the big-boy’s table in years past?

No they don’t, and that’s a good thing. Because they’re growing up in a different world:  one where the basic definition of feminism, the belief that women and men and all people shall have equal opportunity, is a truth they’ve known since they learned the golden rule. And more than just a belief, it is my daughters’ assumption that it shall be so.

It is with this new view of society that I looked with admiration at this year’s Women to Watch honorees. Each year, Lifestyle Publications honors accomplished women in our community who inspire us. This year the list of nominees was long, and the decisions were tough.

Ultimately, the 2017 “League of Extraordinary Women” includes women who’ve accomplished extraordinary things by anyone’s terms. Their stature isn’t qualified by the fact that they did this while ALSO raising families, while ALSO fighting old genderist views. No, their accomplishments are remarkable for anyone — male, female, young, old.

And they spanned industries, from turning a Colorado business into a national franchise, to transforming a retail resort into a regional destination and an economic boon for our community.  From building a fitness empire and changing the way we work out, to pushing new frontiers in interior design, art and cuisine, these women represent the best of what’s possible.