International Women’s Day
So much comes rushing to mind when I think of International Women’s Day. It is inevitable to not think of our mothers and grandmothers that have paved the path before us. It is impossible to not think of women who have touched and blessed our lives with their wisdom and courage. Even famed women cross our minds on this day to honor them. This day celebrates the women who have made strides socially, economically, culturally and politically. This day has been observed since the 1900’s and has grown since then.
Last year, I read two books both by very influential women fighting for two different causes. The first was by a young nineteen year old by the name Malala Yousafzai who wrote I am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and was Shot by the Taliban and the other by Sherly Sandberg called Lean In. While both are different in their topics and stories, a similarity that they share is the encouragement of women to reach their full potential and the demand for spaces to provide them with the resources women need. Malala is a passionate advocate for female education and fights for women around the world who have been discriminated against or have had their access to education stripped from them. Malala was threatened by the Taliban and then later shot (and survived) for speaking out for girls living in her country of Pakistan and for girls around the world to have access to education. She is an activist for the expansion of education to reach girls who are limited either because of social or political norms. She believes that education is right and should not be taken away from anyone.
Sandberg, on the other hand, shares the challenges that face women in the modern workplace. She discusses the balance of trying to be what society has called on a woman to be while at the same time being driven and breaking those stereotypes. She discusses the importance of understanding the wide gamete of women and recognizes that not all women are the same or have the same desires when it comes to their careers and paths, but argues that all women have the potential to reach their goals. Both women have travelled, independently of each other, and their messages have reached millions. Both have been able to influence the trajectory for women in those related aspects for the years to come and I salute them. And those two are modern examples that have risen in the past few years, it would be crucial (but impossible to fit all in this post) to recognize the work of the women pioneers even before both Yousefzai and Sandberg and to celebrate their years of hard work and dedication.
On this March 8, take some time to reflect and think about a woman who has shaped and changed your life. It is important to move forward so that we ensure that not only in this nation, but around the world that women have access to education and are encouraged to make their mark in this world. There is nothing that a woman can’t do and there is so much more that we will do.