In the spirit of international women’s day, I felt it wouldn’t be right if this week’s post didn’t talk about some of the important all things female. First off- I think it is important to acknowledge that I have been fortunate to grow up in a time and place where (for the most part) females are encouraged, and supported to do anything our male counterparts can and do. My parents always taught me that working hard and persevering can achieve (almost) anything you want to, and barriers are not dead ends but small obstacles to avoid as you move ahead.
But that being said, there are some fundamentally messed up things about our society today and how we value and treat women. I’m not even going to open up the can of worms on equal pay or opportunities for women vs men because we could go on all day about that… but here are some of my thoughts:
Recently when having a conversation with someone I was asked what I did and I replied with the usual “I’m a nurse and I teach”. I was somewhat surprised in his response when he said to me “oh they let you do that so young?”… and to be honest I didn’t really know how to respond. And in this moment, I found myself questioning “would I be asked that if I was not female?” Probably not.
I think unfortunately for me dating has brought into perspective how many people out “there” perhaps don’t share the same values and qualities that I have and I have been raised with- that “you can do anything you put your mind to” mentality. Probably those who may have not grown up with strong female figures in their lives or feel intimidated by female success. If I was a 25 year old man as a successful business executive, lawyer, or engineer I can assure you that nobody would question their profession or career. However, me being a 25 year old female nurse pursuing my passions in education is somehow up to someone else to judge whether or not I was “permitted” to do this? How wrong is that.
I can tell you right now, I work with some INCREDIBLE females- who are inspiring, strong, brilliant, caring and make change in the world around them. The same can be said for a lot of males in my life as well. But ultimately, sometimes coming from a context where I have never really compared one vs. another I have really opened my eyes to how the successes of many females around the world are not recognized or celebrated in the same way.
One thing I will say is that as a gender, we females need to do a better job of supporting each other. We have a terrible habit of turning our insecurities into opportunities to belittle each others’ achievements and outdo one another. We hold grudges, we are petty, and we don’t celebrate the achievements of the other females in our lives. Working in a profession which is mainly female dominant, these tendencies have a strong way of presenting themselves at times and this can lead to a lot of emotional turmoil, self doubt, and burnout. I saw the incredible video that you have probably all seen circulating on social media lately featuring Cynthia Nixon (girl GOALS) which describes so much of the double standards that we as women face (maybe more on that in another post cause this one is getting long!)
If you haven’t seen it or had a chance to watch I’ll leave it here.. it is definitely worth the couple of minutes and is pretty striking. I’ll leave you with a last thought just to say, each day I think there is opportunity for all of us to check in with ourselves to say “what have I done to acknowledge the incredible women in my life today and their accomplishments” – starting to do this is the first small step we can all take to big change.
Happy International Women’s Day!