It’s International Women’s Day March 8, and as I mention at this time each year, as a woman who has scratched her way to the summit on multiple occasions, I’d be remiss if I didn’t continue to promote this celebration of women globally.
If you’re old enough to remember bra burnings (YES, they really did take place regardless of those who say it’s myth) or the (on-going) fights for equal and civil rights, or the struggle for equal pay for equal work (an issue that still is not rectified) then you too have seen the pendulum swing…or at least budge at the nudge in some cultures.
When I was about 14 or 15 I was fighting with school officials for the right to wear pants. Yep, in those days, we could not wear pants to school. I can’t even fathom that now! Kids wear pretty much what they want to wear in most American schools, and if polled, I’m betting current high schoolers can’t fathom a time where girls had to wear dresses to school even in blizzard conditions.
- As a young woman in my twenties, I was fighting for the right to own property
- And, although I was a single mom to 3, I fought to hold credit in my own name.
Later on in life, when as that single mother of three children under the age of four, I fought, and finally convinced the Teamsters Training School to admit me, and to train me in that “non-traditional” job of truck driving so that I could support my children. My gender became an asset in terms of legislated Affirmative Action measures. Companies were paid a stipend to put “non-traditional” folks like myself to work, and I was blessed by that law.
Regardless of laws implemented in an attempt to level the playing field, the stories I could tell of inequality and sexual harassment during my days as a Teamster could fill a small library. And yet, somewhere within my core I instinctively knew that I held the winning cards -that although it was unlikely that I could over power any man with my brawn, I most certainly could do my part to right the gender imbalance with my brain.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is parity.
Although women have made great strides towards becoming acknowledged for our contributions, and for our potential, we still have many more footsteps to take until there is actual parity, especially at a global level.Globally, regarding gender bias, I see that some strides have become slides. Click To Tweet
- Today, women disappear.
- Young girls are circumcised -a polite way of defining genital mutilation.
- Human trafficking has exploded into a global issue.
- Women STILL aren’t paid the same as a man for performing the same exact job.
We’ve come a long way, baby?
We’ve not come far enough. Yes, we now have the rights -and moreover, the responsibilities to vote, to hold credit in our own names, to own property, to crack our collective heads against the glass ceiling, and to say “no,” and be supported by the courts for that right.
Women are less often pitted against one another like hens in a cock-fight stance. Slowly but (hopefully) surely, women are collaborating, are cooperating and joining each other in achieving transformative change, and are creating massive positive ripples that influence the tides of time.
And it’s not enough. It’s not enough to allow any of us the luxury to say that we have come far enough, that we can cease to correct the balance of power in every arena, and in every corner of this globe. We still must have our eyes wide open and our voices must be fully collectively owned.We must be our own best supporters and defenders of gender equality. Click To Tweet
We must be vigilant. And regardless of the general rule of human complacency, we must not backslide. We must also not fall into the trap of being enemies. A trick of the war is that women are taught to distrust other women. We are a powerful force when united, and that possibility is terrifying to the paradigm.
When women allow others to refer to women, or worse, refer to each other as bitches, babes, chicks, etc., they are dis-empowering the gender as a whole. We are WOMEN or WOMYN or WYMON or WYMYN, however you wish to twist it. I still prefer the traditional women as I don’t think we should have to be the ones to change another thing that doesn’t result in feminine power. We are NOT babies, chickens, or dogs. The power of words is extraordinary, and with awareness, we learn what to accept and that which we choose to reject.
Women of the West, the Dalai Lama said, would transform the world. My prayer not just for today as the world focus is on International Women’s Day, but everyday, at least in some small increment. I envision women banding together with evolved men, standing side by side with shared voices. I envision women owning their power. I envision a world of equality. And I am not alone. Indeed, there would not be an International Women’s Day if there were no strides to celebrate, or recognition of the steps we’ve managed to climb. Today, I celebrate the feminine perspective, and regardless of your gender, I invite you to do the same.