Even though March is International Women’s Month, the 8th March was International Women’s Day.
Three years ago, one of my drawings was displayed in an art gallery for International Women’s Month. It was a very exciting time because to think one of my drawings was good enough to be put on display was a huge honour. At that time, I was writing my book “I Don’t Hate Me Anymore”. In fact, I had almost finished writing it by the time of the opening day for the gallery exhibition.
My team leader at work even took our team on an “excursion” to the art gallery to see my drawing and also look at what else was on show. I felt proud that I could contribute to something which I felt was to encourage women to believe they are more than they think they are.
This past weekend, I held my official book launch. It was on Saturday 10th March. At the time of booking the launch, I wasn’t thinking of International Women’s Month, or Day for that matter. I just scanned my diary and decided on the 10th March.
“How timely” was one of my reader’s remarks. And indeed, it was, as that is when I took notice and realised it was two days before my launch.
My book is aimed at women, to help guide them to a better place of loving themselves so they are strengthened and empowered to take back control of their lives, who is in it and how they are treated, thus reducing, if not eliminating, abuse from their lives. It is directly in line with the message International Women’s Day is aimed at promoting.
So, I contacted a newspaper, The Illawarra Mercury, and proposed a story be written about my book. They agreed, and it should be in this Wednesday’s paper, 14th March. For sure, this is a most adrenaline-pumping time for me!
My launch was held successfully on Saturday. There was a representation from all parts of my life – my childhood, pre-redundancy employer, the church I attend, the writing club I’m a part of, and my present life. The expanse was wonderful to see. It’s a day which will stay in my heart for always because like anything in life, you only get a “first” once.
Recently, I read an article, or blog rather, about how International Women’s Day, in the author’s opinion, is about feminism. They described it as women trying to push men out of the way, putting the light more on traditional roles of women being nurturers, as well as asking where the elegance of being a woman has gone.
The author added, and I have to give credit here, acknowledgement of today’s pressures and so forth regarding work and home life balance, and the cost of living, etc. However, their emphasis was on women parading themselves as being more important than men, and to minimise their role in society.
I have to disagree with their view. And I have to say, I believe they have missed the real point International Women’s Day (and Month) is truly making.
It is my personal experience, and I am sure that of many women, which places me in a strong emotional stance with this time of acknowledging women. For many in the younger generation, they may not see this, but women are still largely second-rate citizens. This is in regards to dozens of things, such as, but not limited to, pay rate, occupation, company positions, opportunity, advancement, education. And yes, I am referring to modern society in first-world nations, not just poorer or third-world countries. There is no denying things for women have improved greatly since the women’s rights movement began. But progress isn’t necessarily what International Women’s Day is about.
Not for me, anyway.
It’s not about putting men down. It’s not about placing men’s importance below us. It’s not about saying we are superior. It’s not about how much we can take from them. It’s not about what the world owes us. It’s not even about right or wrong.
It goes much deeper than that.
International Women’s Day to me is celebrating being a woman in today’s world and acknowledging women in achieving what they set out to do despite the limitations which still exist for us in this day and age. It’s about strengthening and empowering each other to be the best woman we can be. It’s giving each other encouragement to keep on trudging in the direction we want to go because we are cheering each other on. It’s about wanting each of us to succeed in whatever it is we are doing. It’s giving each other the opportunity to be inspired enough to propel us into what it is our heart has always been wanting to achieve. Other women’s stories give us hope that there is more to each of us than any of us see in ourselves.
It’s not about beating men at something. It’s about joining the world in order to do something.
It’s not about up-staging men. It’s about being ourselves and doing it well.
It’s not about how much we don’t have. It’s about how much we do have.
It’s not about pointing fingers at those we believe are keeping women subdued. It’s about getting up to try despite it.
Don’t ever think just because you are a woman, you have to accept a lower position, in any area of your life, than where your dreams want to take you. Dreams are what keeps us alive and makes life worth living. Without dreams, life is a dull mundane chore.
International Women’s Day is not about parading around, loudly saying how much we are hard-done by. Reject such slander.
International Women’s Day is about the encouragement, empowerment and strengthening of each other.
So, Happy International Women’s Day to all women everywhere for the 8th March just gone. Enjoy the rest of International Women’s Month and remember to uplift a woman in your life, or more, before the month is out,
And then, all year thereafter.