Today is International Women’s Day, I remembered to wear purple. Over the years I have attended a few International Women’s Day functions. It was a big thing in Mt Isa. Lisa Curry came and spoke at the Zonta dinner one year and preached on about weightloss. I left feeling disappointed. The day was born at the beginning of the 20th century when the movement wanting equal rights for women was growing force. A keynote speaker rattling on about weightloss doesn’t really speak to the true meaning of the day.
I think that International Women’s Day is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate how much has been achieved by women, by women for women and by women for others in the last 100 years. However, as a middle class woman, mother, wife and professional the original premise behind International Women’s Day doesn’t really ring true for me today. I don’t need empowering. I am perfectly well empowered all on my own.
International Women’s Day is not about juggling career and family, it is not about being a woman working in a ‘man’s world’, it’s not about women breaking the glass ceiling, not how I see it anyway. I do not live in a sector of society where I fear for what the future may be for my three daughters. From where I sit there are many groups across the world that have fewer equal rights than women as a gender group.
I studied to become a mining engineer. Because I wanted to.
I got married to the man I loved when I was 22. Because I wanted to.
I had our first baby when I was 24. Because I wanted to.
I went back to work when she was 4 months old. Because I wanted to.
I have 4 children. Because we wanted to.
I breastfed the 4 of them for 6 years combined. Because I wanted to.
I worked hard at my career and am successful. Because I wanted to.
I stayed at home full time for a few years. Because I wanted to.
I now work part time. Because I wanted to.
I cook most of our meals. Because I want to.
I can never remember our bank details. Because I don’t.
I am fit and healthy. Because I want to.
I let my husband drive. Because I want to.
I have choices. I am fortunate and I am grateful for that. I have choices where many others, both male and female, do not.
I believe that International Women’s Day is an important platform from which women can take a step back and look at all the people in the world around the,. There are so many people in this world that do not have the same freedom that I have, they may not have choices relating to education, who (or even if) they can marry, when or how they have children and the way in which they live their live. Those people are not empowered in the way I am. They are the people who need the progressive aspect of International Women’s Day. They are the ones who need women like myself to help drive change toward equality for all.
Happy International Women’s Day.