March 8 is International Women’s Day. The day was set aside to celebrate women and all of their accomplishments across the globe. Women are a powerhouse force to be reckoned with – and I’m not just saying that because I AM one. I am incredibly honoured and humbled that I was approached to speak at a Woman’s March on that day. However, due to a scheduling conflict, I am unable to do so. As a compromise, I have written this for them.
I want to start with the obvious – there is a reason that a day needed to be set aside in the first place. Is there an international men’s day? No, because they don’t need extra recognition. When I was a kid, I used to ask my parents why there was a Mother’s Day and a Father’s Day, but no “kids day”. My parents always replied that it was because every other day is kids’ day. I think the same sentiment can be true in this case. We need a day to recognize women and all the good they do because otherwise it’s not readily celebrated. Society has put women in a situation where wrongs need to be righted, and inequities need to be managed. So a day is set aside in an effort to fix it – to make it okay. The danger in doing so is the need to applaud and recognize women on one day, and unfortunately, allow them to fall by the wayside the other 364 days of the year.
The theme of this year’s march is “break the bias”… which got me thinking about which bias(es) we need to break. What are the tangible, actionable items we can pinpoint to change our outlook and our worth as women? And the most important thing is about our worth. What we bring to the table, and what we can offer, matters more than our anatomy.
We should not be limited based on our sex but based on our own parameters – our education, our imagination, and our motivation.
The number one thing I want to teach my daughter is how strong she is. How limitless her future is. And how the only person who controls that is HER. Ironically, as I was writing this post she approached me and told me that she was thankful for me and that she was so proud of me for doing so many things a the same time. I wish I could say that it was scripted, or that it happens all the time, but neither of those things would be true. It was just good timing and a reminder that I am on the right path with her.
That being said, I am not here to nag on society about how much women should be appreciated. As a society, I would like to believe that we have been working hard, ensuring that women receive equal pay, equal rights, and the same responsibilities as their male counterparts. The concept of the glass ceiling, and how this is not reality right now is a topic for a later discussion. Today I want to focus on what CAN be changed, and that is the change we can all make from within. It took many sessions of therapy to come to the understanding that you cannot change other people’s actions, thoughts, and limiting beliefs. You can only change how you react to them. The truth is, how you react will not necessarily have a direct impact on those beliefs, but it does have a direct impact on your mental health. You can be upset, mad, and frustrated at people’s biases towards you, but the only one who will be directly affected is you. It won’t change the other person’s feelings or beliefs. As much as these biases sit within society, they also sit in our own heads. I know that is not what we want to hear – because it is easier in some respects to think that these are only external thoughts. But the truth is, we need to be introspective and find our power from within.
So how do we do that, as women who have to constantly fight an uphill battle? How do we find and celebrate our worth? If we wait for society, or the patriarchy to do so, we’ll have to wait for generations to come. The best way is to celebrate each other. Somewhere along the way, women decided that we needed to compete with one another. We have to be there to build each other up when no one else will. Celebrating each other’s successes, and being there when we fall, is what makes us stronger.
It shows our daughters that being kind, supportive, and caring produces much better results than being jealous of others. There is a reason the saying “power in numbers” is used so often – because it’s true. We are truly stronger together.
My message for you today is to be strong enough to build someone else up instead of tearing them down. Let’s not wait for others to recognize our worth – we need to do that for ourselves and each other. Not just today, but every day. In doing so, we will be better. Together.
This is life. Love, Mom