March 8th is International Women’s Day and I thought I could utilize this platform to share my thoughts about where women are at in 2021 and a bit about what this day means to me. This is a day that I celebrate the incredible women in my life and how far women have come. But most importantly, it is a day to talk about the work that still needs to be done. I truly believe that our work on this topic is far from over. This blog post is to share my thoughts and to get you thinking about what this day means to you.
The biggest challenge I have faced as a women
One of my biggest challenges that I have faced as a woman is being misunderstood. Oftentimes, I have felt misunderstood in my life because people have always had this box they wanted me to fit within and I didn’t fit in it at all. I never considered myself similar to everyone else, but I actually see myself as quite different. At a lot of points in my life, people didn’t like that.
I have always had this insane internal drive and motivation that makes me feel different than other people. The past couple of years I have really leaned into this part of myself. I’ve become very goal-oriented and high-performance driven. It has come with many challenges as I have had to teach myself not to care about what other people think of me. When I put myself out there through this blog or on social media, I am opening myself up to other people’s opinions and that can be really difficult to manage emotionally.
I consider myself quite ‘uncool’ but I have never been more proud of being uncool as I am now. I have never fit in with the popular girls, I have struggled with forming strong female relationships my entire life and I refuse to act a certain way just because people tell me to. If this is something you can relate to, I know how it feels. As isolating and as difficult as it is, you have to believe that you were made that way for a reason and that you have a complete purpose and reason for being who you truly are. Learning to accept that has been one of my greatest life lessons.
Women and social media
A topic that I think about often and especially on International Women’s Day is the impact of social media on women.
Similar to cigarettes – everyone does it and knows how bad it is, but we do it anyway. There is some serious research happening right now about the effects of social media (I think I could write an entire blog post about my thoughts on this) however, the area of focus for me today is on hateful comments to women, by women, on and off of social media.
24/7 Connection – 24/7 Comparison & Judgement
Social media has given us this incredible platform to stay connected 24/7 but also the opportunity to constantly judge, criticize, compare and comment on every move a person makes. Behind a screen, people feel a sense of confidence about sharing their opinions with others no matter how offensive, hurtful or harmful those comments can be. I am constantly seeing women getting attacked by other women on social media for anything and everything and it absolutely breaks my heart. We have come so far, yet we continuously tear each other down or criticize people without knowing the whole story.
I often think about my future daughter, would I want her to grow up in the world of social media? The answer is absolutely not. I am so thankful that social media wasn’t what it is today when I was in high school because I’m not sure I would have survived it. I wonder where it goes from here and how we get past this constant need to judge and hurt others?
Women and the pandemic
The pandemic has amplified gender inequalities and forced many women out of the workforce. According to the RBC Economic Report, the pandemic has pushed women’s participation in the labour force down to its lowest level in three decades. That statistic is mind-blowing! There are many reasons for this but the two major factors include, the need for women to take on more child care responsibilities and the shutdown of female-dominated industries.
This is a serious problem that should be talked about by every industry and business. I am left feeling overwhelmed with questions and I certainly don’t have the answers but these are the questions. What can we do to fix this for future generations? How do we build women back up into the workforce and create more security in their jobs? How do we inspire young girls to be leaders in their careers and their life?
Inspirational women in my life
Although I have countless women in my life who inspire me every single day, I wanted to share one woman who continues to be a role model and inspiration for me. This is Anita Natywary, she is one of my best friends and an absolute hero in my eyes. Anita is a nurse, a wife, a mother of three, a daughter, a sister and a follower of God. She continuously teaches me to be a better version of myself every single day and I can’t even begin to explain what she means to me. I have always had a hard time making and keeping friends but the relationship Anita and I have is one that I will cherish forever. Here are some of the insanely inspirational qualities about this women:
- I have never heard her speak poorly about anyone, EVER
- She works the hardest out of anyone I know, on the littlest amount of sleep
- One of her biggest priorities is quality time with loved ones
- She knows her self worth and never settles for anything less than that
- She would do anything for anyone in need, no matter how busy she was
I invite you to reflect on the inspirational women in your life today and send them a message of what they mean to you.
These thoughts are just scratching the surface of what International Women’s Day means to me and the things that I am thinking about this year. I am so grateful to all of the women who continue to cheer me on and that are a part of my story. Lifting each other up and supporting other women is something that I truly love. However, on this day I am reflecting more on the work that needs to be done. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments and I wish you a very happy International Women’s Day!