Celebrating International Women’s Day:: #ChooseToChallenge

Happy International Women’s Day! Every year on March 8, we celebrate the achievements of women and girls around the world.

In my own little world, this is something to do all year round.

I’m proudly feminist, married to a feminist, and raising feminists. And {this may come as a bit of a surprise to you} if you believe men and women should have equal opportunities and freedoms, YOU are also a feminist! Yeah, you!

In the past several years {or maybe forever, but I notice it more now} I’m seeing and hearing a backlash against feminism. I’m hearing from women who don’t feel oppressed that there’s no need to march; the fight has been won, why keep whining about things? 

I want to say this:: I am so happy to hear that some women feel they have overcome a society that was created and built to keep women from achieving the same as men. That’s amazing! If you find yourself in that position, I’m sure you’ve worked hard, achieved so much to be proud of, and in many ways blazed your own path forward.

And those are all things I honor and celebrate about the women I know {and even those I don’t know personally}. 

But I want to remind everyone this International Women’s Day:: freedom is never free. 

Image Credit ACLU; quote from Toni Morrison

And in the words of a far wiser woman than me, “If you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.” {Thanks, Toni Morrison for being amazing, brilliant and inspiring.}

So how do we do that in a way that’s more than just “lip service”? 

If We Don’t Learn from History…

We are doomed to repeat it, right? Let’s not forget how far we’ve come by erasing the history of struggle it took to get here.

You can learn a little bit about the history of International Women’s Day HERE. It sometimes comes as a shock to me how recently certain freedoms were granted. Women in the United States just recently celebrated the hundred year anniversary of winning the right to vote. That’s only about two or three generations of women who came before anyone reading me, certainly not ancient history.

We have come a long way and we can honor those brave women who fought for rights they never got to enjoy by learning about their stories. I love following A Mighty Girl on Facebook, which highlights the courageous stories of girls from today and throughout history for their achievements and work towards a more equitable society.

Start looking for these stories, and when you find them, read them. Take them in. Then pass them along:: to your children, to any amazing woman who has inspired you, or to any amazing woman you think could use the inspiration. Celebrating International Women's Day:: #ChooseToChallenge

Give, Support, Encourage

If you know a woman with her own business, support her in tangible ways {like spending money} and intangible ways {like writing positive reviews, sharing social media posts, or spreading word of mouth}.

If you donate to charity, make sure you are giving to charities that help women and girls. {Here’s a great list from the International Women’s Day website. Here’s another from Charity Navigator.}   

If you see inequality, injustice, or even your every day, run-of-the-mill misogyny, speak up. Stand up for women and girls. 

This is part of why I love the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day: Choose To Challenge. 

“A challenged world is an alert world. Individually, we’re all responsible for our own thoughts and actions – all day, every day.

We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.

From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.” (IWD 2021)

Society pits us against each other because if we built each other up instead, we’d be unstoppable. Let’s be unstoppable.

Celebrate How Far We’ve Come

Seriously, y’all. We’ve come a long way. From gaining voting rights, being able to own land, having a bank account and credit card in our own name, working outside the home, to being able to give birth to our babies the way we want to– so much has changed in the last century!

I am in awe of the progress I’ve seen in just my lifetime:: recently, the election of the first female to our executive branch of government here in the US, and overall so many more women in government and leadership roles. Women  are able to serve alongside men in military combat.Celebrating International Women's Day:: #ChooseToChallenge

Women speaking out against gender discrimination, injustice and sexual violence; sparking more than just a hashtag, truly shining a light on the stark reality that one in five women will be raped in her life. Saying #MeToo, but also, No More. 

Women shattering glass ceilings in sports, finance, and entertainment. Women making empowered choices to be stay-at-home moms or housewives, raising the next generation of trail-blazers and earth shakers. 

Women fighting for racial justice; women fighting for LGBT justice; women embracing sisterhood because when we lift each other up, we all rise.

“Here’s to strong women:: may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”

And here’s to you, you beautiful, strong, glorious woman!

Happy International Women’s Day 2021!


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