March 8th is International Women’s Day, and this year’s campaign encourages us to #BalanceForBetter, and think about how to forge a more gender-balanced world. **Updated for 2023 – we’re asked to think how we can take action and #EmbraceEquity.
Two years ago, I wrote a modified version of the following essay, and I choose to re-share each year around IWD – a compilation of my hopes as a woman raising kids of diverse genders and a recommitment to how our family can affect positive change in the women’s rights arena.
Women are the true architects of society
Being a Mother to a daughter and sons (*until they tell me differently*) comes with great responsibility, I feel. I desire for my daughter to believe her potential to succeed is limitless, and my sons to be raised to never question this possibility. I will do my best, alongside a man who holds women to the highest regard, to raise my babes to see there is no boundary to a woman’s worth and greatness, and even more so that respect and privilege are not virtues specific to one gender. That the contributions of women, men and gender diverse people are equally significant and should be honoured with the same intensity. That worth, value and achievement are not characteristics of one gender. Oppressing women’s, or anyone else’s, power is simply not at all okay, at all wise, at all for the greater good of society.
The Significance of Women’s Day as a Mom of a Daughter & Sons
It starts at home, and I have never been more aware of the parental power we possess to lessen the impact that existing stereotypes and policies can have on our parental wishes and our children’s outcomes. I refuse to accept that the potential of women, of the next generation of women worldwide, may continue to be impeded upon. I know women’s rights have come a long way – this year alone has seen big strides in the push to gender parity. But I also know there is still work to do, and the momentum needs to be maintained and maximized. Injustice toward any woman based on her anatomy is an injustice to all of us.
Being someone who loves a challenge, and aligning actions with desires, I know I can’t change the world overnight, but the most significant thing we do have control over and can do as parents is raise our four children to know change always starts with us.
How Our Family Tries to Honour Women Every Day
#BalanceforBetter is a call to action, and in this family, it will mean:
- Continuing to support programs (both local & international) that fight for female & gender-diverse persons’ inclusivity, access to education, social and economic advancement (like the Canadian Women’s Foundation & World Vision Canada), and those breaking the silence and prevalence of violence towards women
- Sharing stories, films and books that celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women, girls & gender-diverse persons from our past, present and future. These are some of our favourite book series – Little People, BIG DREAMS & Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls(Affiliates):
- Being aware of how we speak of gender-specific possibility around our dinner table, and removing stereotyping from our parenting discourse
- Modelling to them the appropriate way to treat a woman in our marriage and relationship, but also that respect for men is equally important
- Teaching our sons and daughter that intelligence has no boundaries
- Using positive affirmation tools that inspire, motivate and remind them of their inner power. We love these resources for raising the next GEN of mindful leaders – The Affirmation Station book + journal by Tania Joy Antonio (Affiliate) & Kids’ Mindfulness Course by Fuel Your Soul Co.:
- Being aware of how we speak of women and gender-diverse persons’ in the presence of our children, for they are our greatest imitators
- Discussing how speaking up, particularly in matters of injustice, or where we or someone we love is being disrespected, does not make us a negative, bad or disobedient person, but rather a self-respecting, and empathetic one
- Teaching our kids that no act is ever too small to make an impact, and small changes lead to great outcomes
- That the support and encouragement of boys and men for fundamental rights of girls, gender-diverse youth/persons’ and women is imperative; one cannot be achieved without the other
- Age-appropriate conversations about consent, respect for our bodies and those of others
- For my daughter, I want her to see that as women, we rise by lifting other women and gender-diverse persons up, not tearing them down (gossip + girl-shaming free zone over here!). Empowering other women is one of the greatest things we can do to make a change for all of womankind. I want to show her how to see women as a comrade, not a competitor. Not easy, but I’m committed.
What are you doing in your family to #BalanceforBetter #EmbraceEquity this year? What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day Quotes
Before I sign off, I wanted to share some of my favourite inspirational quotes well-suited for International Women’s Day and beyond:
- Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them [and raise our sons and celebrate men who value and respect them!] – Unknown
- I am Woman Phenomenally, Phenomenal Woman that’s me – Maya Angelou
- We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back – Malala Yousafzai
- The education and empowerment of women throughout the world cannot fail to result in a more caring, tolerant, just and peaceful life for all – Aung San Suu Kyi
- Beauty is about being comfortable in your own skin. It’s about knowing and accepting who you are – Ellen DeGeneres
- Girls should never be afraid to be smart – Emma Watson
- In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders – Sheryl Sandberg
- I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own – Audre Lorde
- Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it, without claiming it possibly, she stands up for all women – Maya Angelou
- It takes years as a woman to unlearn what you have been “sorry” for. It takes years to find your voice and seize your real estate – Amy Poelhr
To celebration Women’s Day, our friends at FTD are offering downloadable wallpapers for your phone and desktop HERE
Cheers to the phenomenal women of our past, present and future, and to the men who value and celebrate their greatness alongside us! Happy International Women’s Day!
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