Women in 2014

Although International Women’s Day isn’t officially recognized until this Saturday, March 8, 2014, in the days leading up to the it, I thought it appropriate to reflect on how far we’ve come.

When you mention to most good-natured men with a sense of humour, about International Women’s Day, the joke inevitably arises, “When is it International Men’s Day”?

It’s a good question and I’m sure many children ask. Why does there even HAVE to be a special globally recognized day, just for women.

Women have been beaten down, oppressed, told they had no say, no opinion, that their presence was worthless, their needs not important, that their bodies were merely created for men’s sexual pleasure, that they would get paid less, that they weren’t as smart, powerful, their voices meak and their thoughts, too gentle.

And that’s just scratching the surface.

Think about all the ways women are beginning to be portrayed differently in the media, hold upper management positions, stand up for themselves, leave an abusive situation, expect more for their own lives.

We’ve come a long way.

The opportunities for our little girls will continue to grow, and that’s because there are those that make their voices heard. Loudly and relentlessly, especially and particularly, when people are uncomfortable.

Those are the women who make change.

But the less heard, the women who make small yet courageous changes in their own lives, the ones that tell no one, that are humble and stand in the shadows, they are also the ones we recognize.

Whether you shout equality from the rooftops, addressing large crowds or challenge a family member on their sexist jokes, we are all one. We work towards a better life for everyone.

Men change too. I’d venture to say their thoughts are different from their fathers that came before them. Perceptions and standards change because of shifts in society, not in one gender or another.

Change is our collective responsibility.

But there is still much change that needs to happen.

Maybe one day there won’t be an International Women’s Day. Will there ever be a time when we feel ‘our work is done here’?

There are so many other groups that struggle with adversity and equality and that desperately need more attention.

As we pause to think about how far women have come, perhaps we can think about others who also struggle.

Perceptions change because WE change.