Today is International Women’s Day, a time when we celebrate women’s achievements and collectively advocate for greater gender equality in all aspects of life. The campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter, and the message is that a more gender-balanced world – a gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government and a gender-balanced media, for starters – is a better world for both men and women.
I’m so thankful for the strides that have been made for women so far, from the suffragettes movement of the early 1900s who fought for the right to vote, to the leaders of the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and the 1970s. The great book “Our Bodies, Ourselves” from that era helped a whole generation of women, including me, become more conscious of their sexual and reproductive health, their well-being and their place in society. Today’s #metoo message has also gone a long way to empowering women, giving us the impetus to demand respect and speak out when men abuse their power. Kudos to the women who have risked their careers by talking truth to power.
The message this year is a positive one. It states and celebrates the simple truth that where women have power and respect, society functions better. We already know that the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women have made the world a better place – for both men and women – and that is worth celebrating. Because of the work of my sisters before me, I know I will have a better life than my grandmother, who bore 12 children.
Within our workplaces we need to keep in mind both the positive actions that have been taken and what still needs to happen to achieve #BalanceforBetter. As I look at this message I think about the positive steps that have been taken from the 1980s until now with regards to work-life balance, the celebrated increased role in all genders within the role of the family which is an important contributor to personal, family life and work balance for all of us. If you want more information about finding balance within life here are some resource links which provide information improving balance at work, your personal health and wellness balance and balance when supporting your family and friends.
All over the world today, groups are holding events and seminars to celebrate IWD, and women are posting pictures of themselves on social media with their hands out to their sides, palms up, in a symbol of balance, a pose that also forms the letter W. How can you contribute? By maintaining your dignity and your stance in the face of gender bias. By tenaciously challenging bias. By celebrating the achievements of your sisters. By demanding respect. It’s a day-to-day attitude, and it doesn’t end on International Women’s Day. For more information about how to get involved or what to do on a daily basis at work, in your relationships, in your community to further the cause of gender balance, visit the IWD website at https://www.internationalwomensday.com/