March 8 is International Women’s Day this year, and as far as we as women have come, we have a long way to go.
This day has been observed since the early 1900’s when voting rights, work hours and better pay were topics of rebellion.
It began with a march of 15,000 women through New York City, which was shocking at the time, yet today what they started is celebrated around the world. What those first 15,000 women would think if they could have seen 2021.
We have female astronauts, prime ministers, executives, women in the armed forces, women can work and have a family, women of all ages can go to university.
After 244 years the United States has a female vice president first time.
Women have more real choices than they have ever had.
Yet, even with more women in boardrooms and governments and having higher visibility as role models in all aspects of life, women are still not paid equally, nor are women present in equal numbers in business or politics.
Globally, there are still not the same standards for education, health or even protection from violence for women.
It may seem to younger women that most of the challenges have been met, but most women from the 1970s (called feminists) can tell you how ingrained and complex “the good old boy” club is.
I’m not saying we need to go from a patriarical society to a matriarchal one, but there needs to be more global equality. From both sides of the aisle.
It shouldn’t be in this day and age that education or basic health is not offered equally to boys and girls, men and women. And violence against anyone should never be tolerated, yet it is.
So those battles have not been won, we have made big strides, but more needs to be done, we need to keep recognizing the inequities, bringing to our collective consciousness that women around the world are still struggling and each of us has a responsibility to help.
I have a mom, daughters and granddaughters to whom I have a responsibility. Each of you have family. We each can keep leading by example to what a better world and a more fair world can look like.
I had parents who taught me about equality, not only in race but in gender. My parents are a team, in their own eyes equal, but a team.
My mother was a woman of many firsts in her family and in life and my dad supported her every step.
My dad also took on many roles that were not necessarily at the time “traditional,” but my mother supported him fiercely. They made decisions together, as unique and individualized and nontraditional and personal as those decisions were, they were in-sync and equal. They were my role-models of what being equal was, and it was a powerful lesson.
I hope I have taught it to my children.
It will probably take another hundred years for the world to catch on, and truly support equality, but I will keep the faith. I will also keep supporting the women in my life to be those needed change makers.
I will also keep encouraging the men in my life to take on that task as well. Most of them already do, and those that don’t can eat dirt.
It’s going to take brave people to take on the future, it won’t be for the faint of heart.
I’ll be thinking of the women in my life who have broken barriers on March 8, and the ones that will.
I think the future looks bright with possibility, and as we continue to work to make the world better, I hope the 15,000 women that took a giant leap of faith a hundred years ago would be proud that we have not let them down.