International Women’s Day: Choose to Challenge

Debbie Walker

March 8, 2021, is the day of crossroads for women everywhere.

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Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

March 8, 2021 is International Women’s Day. International Women’s Day has been observed for a century since it began in 1911. The day recognizes the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women globally, and it’s a call to action for gender parity.

No one government, organization, or corporation can claim credit for starting this movement. However, Clara Zetkin, leader of the Women’s Office of Social Democratic Party in Germany, suggested that every country celebrate women and their demands on the same day, worldwide.

The first Women’s Day was first observed on March 19, 1911, in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland. Those celebrations inspired women in other countries to adopt International Women’s Day.

This is a day to celebrate the global woman in all countries in all walks of life. It is a day to recognize the importance of women in leadership.

Given the pandemic this year, all events are virtual. They hold everything on Zoom, which is great for me because I can watch live streaming of my choosing.

Choosing

That falls in line with the theme of this year’s 2021 International Women’s Day, which is: Choose to Challenge. What? Anything that impedes the progress of gender parity.

I hate to admit it but I didn’t know what parity was. I looked it up and discovered that parity is the status of being equal. Therefore, when we have gender parity, we have equality.

All things considered, women are not equal to men, yet. One day, maybe. How do we work toward parity? Choose to challenge.

It is a day to choose.

We, as women, have to choose to challenge gender stereotypes. We are no longer cast(e) in roles of the stay-at-home, barefoot-and-pregnant scenarios that wives and girls in many countries still endure.

We have to choose to challenge the pay gap between women and men. Demand equal pay for equal work.

We have to choose to challenge the status quo in governance. We have the right to choose policy-making in issues affecting women and the future of the world.

We are about 50% of the world’s population. However, only 21 countries have women that are Heads of State.

UN Virtual Event

I was watching the United Nations’ in New York City, New York's virtual presentation of women achievers and leaders express their thoughts and challenges for the state of women worldwide. It was amazing to see women stand up and speak for their countries and the plight of others.

The Prime Minister of Iceland talked about the shadow pandemic of violence against women. She emphasized that during COVID, now, women are experiencing increased poverty. Also, she mentioned women care for COVID-positive family members and are on the frontlines of the health care sector.

I was humbled as I observed the comments scrolling down the chat. Women from Myanmar crying out for help, pleading, “Don’t forget us.”

Women from Ethiopia, Nigeria, Macau, Kosovo, China, and Russia were blessing each other. It almost brought me to tears.

I believe we are at a crossroads in the history of women yet to be written. The decisions we choose to make or not will affect future generations to come.

What do we do?

Challenge ourselves. Challenge the limiting beliefs we hold in our hearts about our biases, emotions, and education.

Unleash the creativity to impact others and enlarge your reach. Stretch yourself and take a risk.

Talk to your daughters and granddaughters about their potential. I have one who wants to be an astronaut. I nurture her dream and buy outer space stuff and books. I feed her imagination while we discuss what it is like to be on a spaceship.

I encourage her to apply for positions of leadership and to focus on STEM classes. She has the power within her to chart her future. Unlike the old saying, the sky is not the limit.

You also have that power. You only have to choose.

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