It’s International Women’s Day! Yay, to all you wonderful women out there!
Feminism- Why is it that this word is associated with man-hating? It’s turned into a dirty word; one men and women are afraid of. Sure, not ALL men and women fear it, but feminism is a word that connotes a wide array of responses and emotions to those who hear it.
I was raised by a father who expected the exact same from both my brother and myself. I did chores, he did chores. I cleaned up, he cleaned up. I was never expected to do less because I was a woman (or girl). My brother was never expected to do more or less because he was a boy/man. I was never treated as being less than my brother. The expectations for what we did, how we treated each other and other people, and how we were treated were never unbalanced. With that being said, of course I was the typical daddy’s girl. I had I much different relationship with my father from what by brother did. The same was true of our relationships with our mother. However, the expectations of us never wavered.
Later in life, I was fortunate enough to meet, and later marry a man who never treated me differently. He, too, challenged me to be a stronger and better person. He made me feel like an equal to him– a partner. He never made me feel like I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something because I was a woman.
I have never felt that I was owed less, that I wasn’t worthy, or that I didn’t have equal opportunity because I am a women. So why are there so many amazing women out there who feel like they are less than a man, and were not given the same rights because they are a woman? The answers here are as numerous as the women who have faced this. The feminist fight for equality carries on.
I have never let a man tell me I wasn’t worthy. I never let myself feel I was worth less. I have been fortunate to have men in my life who have treated me with equal respect and dignity they would to a man. On this solid foundation of confidence in myself, I have lived my life refusing to accept inequality.
I see women all around me in “power” positions. My mother is in management, my mother in-law is a university educator, my best friend holds two degrees and worked for years in a male-dominated industry. One of the women I look up to most in our community is the Director of one of the best organizations I know. I have friends that are financial advisors, nurses, social workers, engineers, teachers, incredible mothers, business owners and they’re just killing it! When I think of the most successful and empowering people in my life, they’re all women!
I am going to say something that may be controversial for so some, but I’m ok with that; I am a woman who is entitled to her opinion. Many of the times in my life I have felt less than worthy have come from the actions or words of a WOMAN. Women are the hardest on each other– not men! Women are the ones who tear other women down fueled by jealousy and greed. THIS is where I think we need to turn some of our focus and energy toward improving. We Woman need to stand up and support each other. Not against a man, not against the “system”, but against ourselves and each other. Until we break the cycle of tearing each other down, of being jealous, of diminishing one another, we can’t expect too see positive change in our day-to-day. We are not the same, nor do we need to be, but we need to support each other while respecting and celebrating our differences. I have never had a man in my life not support me when I needed it, but there have been many women.
So today I ask you to tell the women in your life that you’re proud of them. Remind them of their unique strengths, and their amazing contributions. Encourage them to continue working toward their goals, and affirm your support to stand with them along the way. Raise them up to be the best version of themselves! As more women do this, I know we will see a turn for the better. We are passionate, we are powerful. Let’s use our strength to help build and support each other, not to tear others down.
I am a Feminist -a Feminist supporting women, supporting myself.