Today is International Women's Day. Its important, and I am about to share why.
Today is a day to celebrate, honor, and educate. It's a day to look back on how far we have come and to say "thank you" to the women who have paved the way. It's a day to look forward, to reflect on what else needs to be done, and to say "I'm going to be part of this". It is about being proud to be a woman, and to be proud of other women.
I think our first instinct when we talk about women's rights is to talk about the past. We bring up names like Susan B. Anthony, Marie Curie, Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks. And YES, these AMAZING, powerful women truly led the way and made things happen for us- things that we once deemed impossible. They deserve all of the praise they get, no doubt. Children should be learning about them in school. We should be having active conversations about these women.
BUT. We forget that women's rights are STILL an issue. It is not just a chapter in a History book- it is still happening. Women are fighting for the ability to receive an education. Women are blamed for their rape because they "weren't dressed appropriately". Women musicians are chastised for writing songs about their exes when men are doing the EXACT same thing. Women are not paid equally. Women are not given a fair shot. Women are expected to be able to cook. Women sports are not exciting. Women celebrities should only be asked about their fashion choices, nothing else. Women are STILL not equal to men.
So what then, can we do about it?
First and foremost, as women, we need to celebrate each other's accomplishments rather than jump to tear each other down. We need to praise each other. We need to erase jealousy and replace it with empathy and understanding. I am 100% guilty of gossiping, name calling, and tearing other people down. But I also know that it has to stop. I pledge to think before I speak, to stop myself from judging, and to embrace the women around me.
We also need to fight back. Do not play into the stereotypes society has thrown at us. Prove them wrong. The other day a trainer at the gym basically told the class to do pushups, but with a smirk on his face, said "for the ladies, though, do those easy girl pushups". I looked at him, got on the ground and did regular pushups. He was insinuating that because we are girls, we can't work as hard, we aren't as strong. Prove him, and prove everyone else who tells us that we AREN'T good/strong enough, wrong.
Lastly, we should pay attention. Read up on the wonderful, powerful things women are doing in our world right now. Make yourself aware. Arm yourself with knowledge.
The worst thing you can do is sit back and pretend like gender equality is not an issue. Don't ignore it. Don't assume that just because YOU don't feel unequal, it's not happening. Pay. Attention.
And please, talk to your sons and daughters about this. Our young people are the future superheroes. They will be the ones to continue to carry out this change.