Today is International Women’s Day! Around the globe millions of women are recognized and honored. If there was ever a day that truly was worth celebrating, it is this one. For me it is right up there with Veterans day, where we are called to remember the men and women who sacrificed and served to protect freedom.
On March 19, 1911 men and women gathered at various events to mark this special day; they campaigned to address issues like women’s right to work, vote, and be trained, to hold public office and to end discrimination. Prior to and since 1911 millions of women and men rallied to recognize women’s contributions to society and to protect their rights as citizens of this world. Today, in approximately fifteen countries it is an official holiday; traditionally men bestow gifts and flowers to their mothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, or colleagues.
Though many of us lead a relatively free and protected life, alas many others do not. Every year there are women around this world that die for their beliefs, fighting for their right to be educated, to control their own bodies, to be considered person’s under the law. Women are in the cross fire of conflict and trafficked, female infanticide is still practiced and young women undergo custom imposed mutilation. If we were to add up all the women that die around this world every year for any of these reason, it would be in the millions.
All of the women today and throughout history that voiced their unpopular opinions and marched on our behalf should be held up high by our praise. It has long been my opinion that we don’t honor these women enough, instead many take for granted all that was afforded to us through their efforts. We matter because they made it so!
Many of us can work in any profession we choose, receive an education, have the option to have children or not, and in some countries enjoy paid maternity and parental leave. We can aspire and obtain positions in public office, wear what we please and think what we think without retribution. This, my friends, is due to the women of the world that dared! Men, women and essentially families are reaping the fruits of their labour.
I’m proud to be a woman, but I believe more work could be done to show us greater respect and esteem. I’m proud to call myself a feminist… yes, I am saying the “F Word”. The definition of feminist is “a woman or man who believes in the full social, economic, political equality of women and men.” Keep that in mind when you enjoy any of the aforementioned ideals in your personal life.
To the women that spoke and fought on our behalf, I salute you. To the women who have endured and broke free from violence, neglect, or exploitation, I salute you. To the mothers that bring us life and those that nurture their children despite daily hardships, I salute you. To the women whose unpopular voice was mocked or silenced, I salute you. To the women and men who celebrate this day, I salute you. To the women in my life, I salute you!