Every year on March 8th, women come together to embrace their womanhood on International Women’s Day. This global event takes place to celebrate women’s achievements and to commemorate the movement for women’s rights, equality, and justice. Not only does it bring attention to the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but it also acknowledges the challenges women all over the world continue to face in the quest for gender equality.
Recently we have seen the rise of the #metoo movement, an initiative that’s seen women from all over the world come forward to share their stories of sexual harassment. We may have come a long way in terms of women’s rights, but the outpouring of stories that have emerged as a result of this movement illustrates that there is still a way to go. However, it also demonstrates just how incredible women are: their strength, their ability to band together and show support, their heart for encouraging one another to speak out and stand up for what they believe in. It’s clear that a day like International Women’s Day deserves to be recognised because women absolutely deserve to be celebrated, but let’s not confine the praise to just one day – women deserve to be celebrated every day and here are just a few other reasons as to why…
They are building the future generation.
Women are not only sisters, wives, grandmothers and aunties, they are also mothers. They have been given the extraordinary gift of bearing children who will become our future leaders, and even if they choose not to become a mother in the physical sense, they still have an astonishing ability to influence others, making a difference to the future through advice, ambitions, work and efforts. Just consider how society is on its way to eliminating the gender pay gap; our refusal to give up is paving the way for the next generation, just as our mothers, aunts, and grandmothers paved the way before us.
They inspire each other.
For some women, their first instinct is to compare themselves to other women around them. This can lead to feelings of jealousy or of inferiority, but comparison doesn’t have to result in such negativity. Imagine what could happen if instead of comparing yourself to others, you allow yourself to feel inspired by others. This could be from your fellow colleague getting a promotion, or because you’ve witnessed someone speaking up for themselves and making their opinions heard. The #metoo movement is an excellent example of how women have inspired other women, and evidence that if you speak out about something you believe in, people will take notice. You may not think you’re doing anything special, but someone out there, someone with the same thoughts as you but who lacks courage to do anything about it, will see how you’ve stepped up, and that will inspire them to do the same.
They are incredibly strong and resilient.
The role of women and their strength can often be downplayed, but we have seen first-hand how women can pick themselves up after being knocked down. There are so many inspirational stories of how women have come through the other side: we see it time and time again in the stories shared by women, we’ve seen it throughout history, and we are still seeing such historic moments today.
Let’s cast our minds back to Emmeline Pankhurst who helped fight for the right to vote, and Rosa Parks who helped to break boundaries in civil rights. Recently Malala Yousafzai, at the age of only 19, became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize because she risked her life for the education of girls and the empowering of women. If these remarkable women hadn’t shown such strength and resilience, where would we be now? It’s easy to dismiss something as impossible, but the simple act of giving something a try can move mountains. Believe in yourself and you will exceed expectations.
To the women of the past, present and future, and to the men who advocate women to be the strong influencers they are – we salute you!