Today is the 100th anniversary of International Womens Day. It’s so cool that we have such a day. However, as with any other special day (Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day and so on) the question becomes why can’t we celebrate and honor the same thing every day? With today, there is another question as well – has it made any difference?
Certainly we have made great strides in the last hundred years. To look back at our own society and see the changes is astounding. Women can vote, we have increased income parity (I know, we’re not there yet), contraception improvements and so on.
Yet all over the world, women are still struggling. Many can’t own property. They can’t get a divorce. They get stoned for having an affair. Many societies don’t allow their girls to go to school. Women do roughly 2/3 of the work and make about 10% of the income overall. Even here, women are far from represented in our politics. A CBC show this morning was talking about how only 30% of their interviewees were female in the last year. 52% of the population, 30% of the opinion – that’s not exactly representative. There’s still a long way to go for complete equality.
It’s a long slow process. It’s important to look back at how far we’ve come. Celebrate the successes so far. Then look ahead and say, what’s next? Set goals for those next steps and make comparisons this time next year.
One thing I would like every woman to do is recognize her own beauty and power. One of the biggest ways we keep women down is by making them feel bad about themselves. Whether they feel stupid, ugly or ineffective, it makes them stay small. In a perfect Bad Kitty world, women everywhere would not feel that way. Additionally, they wouldn’t allow anyone to attempt to make them feel less.
In order to facilitate this, here are some of my suggestions:
- Show women of all sizes, colors and ages in advertising and entertainment. This is improving slowly. Ramp it up!
- Give women places to connect with each other. When we realize that we are all the same at our core, we become more supportive and loving toward each other.
- Find ways in the workplace to make everyone, not just women, feel heard and appreciated. When people, especially women, feel they have been heard and respected, the energy changes. Tired of women sniping at each other and gossiping in the lunch room? Make sure they are given some say in what happens around them.
- Create laws that put the onus on the abuser, not on the abused. Make it easy for women to get out of those situations. Even better, give them the power and self confidence so that they won’t get into them in the first place!
- Create more esteem education for young women. There is a terrible epidemic among girls being overly self critical about their looks and their core selves. It’s happening at a younger and younger age and it scares me. If we have programs in place to raise up young women instead of tearing them down, just imagine the difference!
- When assisting struggling communities, focus on the women. A Sherwood Park organization went to a village in Ethiopia and gave the women means to purchase land. A year later, they returned and the women greeted them with singing and dancing as their entire community had changed as a result.
- Women, when you are in the workplace, be a woman. You don’t have to be a man to compete. You are so much more powerful in your feminine self than when you try to be someone, and something, you’re not.
- Ladies, stand up for yourself. Take time for yourself. Put yourself first in your own life. Give yourself positive messages. Smile when you look in the mirror. Help others from a place of strength, not obligation. No one can take power over your life better than you can. Start today and next year the world will be a better place for everyone you come into contact with.
I firmly believe that when a woman owns her own unique beauty (inside and out) without feeling the need to change or improve, her world will change and the world as a whole will change. The change in the world will be so dramatic, we won’t recognize the place. Women handle conflict differently. They collaborate rather than dominate. Take a few moments to think about it. I hope it makes you grin from ear to ear like I do.
Be Beautiful, Be YOU!