I’m really struggling with International Women’s Day. Anyone who knows me even a little would think I’m a big fan but truth be told I have mixed feelings.
Very rarely in my life have I actually allowed any experience of limitations because I’m a woman to stop me. I’ve seen it, heard it and felt it. I’ve been literally patted on the head and told I couldn’t do a “man’s job.” I simply refuse to listen to such idiocy. How about an ‘International Not-All-Men-Are-Idiots Day’?
We need a collective mental readjustment to normalize equality and recognize discrimination for the idiocy that it is. I’ve employed wonderful men over the years who call me Boss Lady while collaborating freely but they take direction as circumstances require. There’s no need to prove that I’m somehow qualified to be the boss; I just am. No big deal. We relate as equals because we are.
I’ve also employed smart and talented young women who just needed a mentor to nudge them into the strength they already possess. Something in our societal upbringing of children is indeed sending a message to many young women that they are less capable or deserving. Hence my mixed feelings about this day.
Perhaps we need to spend less energy highlighting the inequalities and more energy stepping up and being the solution. We need more strong female role models for both our girls and boys. I guarantee my sons have a clear understanding that equality is a given even if cultural opportunities need adjustment.
Yes, there’s still a need for policies and laws that help provide greater opportunity. But women don’t need equality handed to them; they just need to go do their thing whatever that is.
In the early 1970’s the head of the medical school where my mother was applying said, “I don’t approve of women in medicine.” She looked him straight in the eye and said, “Well I don’t approve of men in medicine!” She then went on to be not only one of the top students at the school but in the top 5% nationally. Take that patriarchy! Obviously I was blessed with a fantastic role model.
Is it fair that women have to work harder to prove they’re just as good? No, of course not. But you don’t win a fight by arguing that you shouldn’t lose. You just pull up your big girl pants and go win the damn fight!
To all not-idiot types – I challenge us to act as role models for equality in gender realtionships today and everyday. Maybe then we can live in a world that has no need for International Women’s Day.