International Women’s Day is the day set aside to celebrate and focus on empowering women from all around the globe. It’s a day that we come together as the female tribe to inspire, to challenge one another to become our best and to change the way the world views and respects our voices. It is a day that we strive to empower the next generation of women.
Let’s face it, women have had to fight for centuries to get to where we are, facing great obstacles and climbing mountains we thought were impossible. When we are determined to make a difference, women are a force to be reckoned with, capable of creating dynamic changes that have a long-lasting impact on our standing in society. We’ve fought for the right to vote, drive cars, attend college, for the opportunities to be anything we want to be and more. As much as we have accomplished, we still have a long way to go.
International Women’s Day is a necessary reminder to the world about the importance of female empowerment, but it needs to be much more. It needs to be the foundation of how we live our lives every other day of the year. Our efforts to improve the lives of woman need to be reflected in the way we live our lives daily – not just one day of the year. Unfortunately, many women in our society do not understand that our actions are the biggest obstacle we face in the fight to change women’s lives. True empowerment comes from how we treat other women in our lives, community, workplace and on social media. If we can’t respect and uplift the members of our own tribe, then how on earth can we expect the male species to do it.
How many women do you see supporting in public the progress of women, but in their everyday lives fall short and live contrary to what they say, or what they do? How often do we fail to live up to these ideals of supporting and uplifting women? Many times, I wonder if we women realize how hypocritical we are when it comes to really walking the walk and talking the talk. Can we honestly look in the mirror and say that we support and empower each other the other 364 days of the year?
What really bothers me are the women who claim to be champions of women’s rights, are the first to pick up the pink battle flags of world feminism waving them proudly in the air, but in their personal lives are the same women who have no qualms about backstabbing their co-workers, spreading rumors about some woman who threatens their alfa status, and have no guilt about gossiping and destroying another woman’s character just to make themselves look or feel better. Is this what empowerment looks like?
We are not empowering women when we keep silent about sexual abuse or tolerate the way men treat other women because we are afraid that we might be blacklisted for speaking up. Is this how we advocate for other women? The #metoo movement, although well intended, highlights the fact that for years women in Hollywood knew about these abuses, but did nothing to stop it from happening to other women until it became a fashionable cause.
I’m saddened to know that many women had to suffer this abuse by these men in power, but more than that, I’m angry at the women who knew this was happening, did nothing, and in some cases secretly blamed the victim. How many times have you caught other women saying, “well she deserved it”, “look at the way she dresses” or, “she should have never put herself in a position to become a victim”. How many cases did friends of these victims not come to their defense and speak up sooner? With friends like that, who needs enemies?
In our workplace, how many times have we joined the cries of other women trying to help break the glass ceiling, but have never reached out to mentor another female employee? How many times have we felt that women we work with don’t want us to succeed because they don’t want to share the spotlight? How many women in policy positions make sure that there is equal pay for the same level of work?
The reality is that women make up a large percentage of the workforce and if we want equal pay for the same level of job, then we need to empower women to not accept anything less. We need to demand that woman managers in positions make sure all employees hired are paid the same salary and get a rate of increase as any other employee with the same tenure and skills set. We can’t rely on male managers to fight for our rights, we need to make sure the female leaders of our tribe have our backs and that we fight for each other.
If we truly want to embody the spirit of International Women’s Day, then we must learn not to tear down any woman who is not like us or who doesn’t share our personal ideals. How can we honestly say, women should have a voice when we are not willing to accept anyone who disagrees with us.
We cannot allow differences to divide us. How often do you see liberal-minded women bash conservative-minded women and vise versa? How often are we body-shaming other women because they look different than we want them to look? We live in a constant state of being judged by one another and criticizing each other. We discriminate and tear each other apart based on our lifestyles, our choice to be working or stay-at-home mothers, to stay single or get married. This madness needs to stop. These actions are the opposite of empowerment.
When we watch television reality shows that glamorize and promote female discord, what is this saying about how the world sees women? I don’t know about you, these “real” housewives aren’t helping our cause. They reinforce the mindset that is normal for women to tear each other apart, that the alfa-chick is supposed to be the rude demanding one and not the caring mentoring figure alfa-chicks should be.
If we are committed to empowering one another, we must begin to build each other up and stop gossiping and undermining other women. We must always be each other’s advocates and strive to be examples of the women we want our daughters to grow up to be. We need to make it our mission to be role models for the next generation of women, mentoring and encouraging them.
It takes courage and a conscious decision to treat the members of our tribe with dignity and respect. If we want to make International Woman’s Day count, then the change we seek must start with us.