Today I am quietly celebrating myself – and all the other three or four billion women on the planet – for International Women's Day. I don't remember this event last year; as a nanny, I was likely too busy snuggling a four month old and wrestling two toddlers into eating lunch.
But this year, it was a day of intention and reflection. I am incredibly privileged, and I acknowledge that I have and am grateful to have the opportunities and legal protection that I do. Women around the world are deprived of education, respect, and independence. Individuals who do not fit the so-called standards for womanhood (whether standards for beauty, or submission, or gender identity, or interests, or sexual orientation) are bullied and abused. Sex is used to control and dominate and shame.
Yes, I am privileged as a woman in this country and this time, and I am aware and grateful.
(Not to say that there is not a higher ideal to be met here, too; only a few hours ago a stranger believed that it was okay to honk at me as I walked, supposedly to show his approval. I am still paid less than a man earns for the same work. Sanitary necessities are taxed as luxury items. Thousands of rape kits sit untested in police storage. And on and on..)
In reality, women are strong, intelligent, capable, compassionate warriors and nurturers and builders and dreamers. We are all – every single one of us – capable of incredible, magnificent things. We are complex and awe-some and we deserve nothing less than to own our rightful place in the world.
I know that I have a responsibility to speak up, not only myself, but my fellow women who are suffocated under systems and practices of inequality. Today, I hold my sisters around the globe in my heart, and make a promise to do what I can to make the world a better place for all of us, our daughters, and our daughters' daughters.
Help me speak up for and celebrate women and womanhood with the list below!
- This is one of my new favorite poems of all time. You are extraordinary.
- My fellow Americans - let's get a woman on the $20 bill
- Love yourself. No, really. And make it a priority.
- Fill the gender gap in your grasp of history: Extraordinary Women You Need to Know Now
- Men, you can make a stand for gender equality with He for She. We're all in this together!
- Learn how to compliment little girls - without insulting their intelligence
- Make a microloan to help a woman become self-sufficient! The best thing about this is that you will be repaid, meaning you can make a big difference with just $25. I've reinvested my money 16 times!
- Challenge society's standards and make the world a place where every woman is okay exactly as she is
- Choose one of these 75 books starring mighty girls to read to your daughter/niece/student/sister/self
- Have anything to add? Please share in the comments!