Wellness Wednesday__Does the world really want more women to "Lean In"?

Today's post is written in spirit of International Women's Day.

I was in the mood for a cheesy "feel good" movie last night, so I found my way over to the Hallmark channel.  Normally, their movies all follow the same plot and are so predictable. However, within the first five minutes of playing this one, I was annoyed.  The main character, a girl of about eight years old, was sent to the principal's office and was reprimanded for exposing secrets about the cafeteria food.  The principal told the little girl, "Strong women get into more trouble".  I know it's just a movie, but this happens in real life in schools all over the world!

This comment stuck out at me because I was and still am like that little girl.  From a very young age, in grade five, I was trained to raise my voice on behalf of those who had no voice.  I was raised to believe that I could do anything I put my mind to.

Society: Be Yourself.

Society: No, not like that.

It's been hard to be a strong woman.  I've had to accept unfair labels (problematic, stubborn) and name calling (bitch) for speaking out and holding my ground in ways that would earn an average man admiration and respect.  My direct communication has been mistaken for aggression.  The world doesn't really want more women to "Lean In".  The world wants "polite and silent" girls.  Society tolerates very little blabbering, neuroticism, anxiety, melancholy, sarcasm or any other character flaw which makes a woman "weak".

But it's okay.  We all have the right to be who were are. The weird one, the nerdy one, the lover, the worrier, the thrill seeker or the artist.  Be them all and be them all at once.  You are the ONLY you that there is and will ever be. How tragic it would be to act like you are anything but that.

Be Bold For Change

On International Women's Day 2017 we must celebrate how far women have come but never become complacent or forget about how far we still have to go. Today I'm confronting injustice.

The systematic oppression of women begins in schools. From the curriculum and programming we offer little girls, to the books they're required to read, to the "history" they're required to reflect on, to the behavior they're expected to exhibit, to the male majority leading schools (despite being a female-dominated industry).  Later to the careers young women are encouraged to pursue, to the gender roles and expectations emphasized in modern society, to the tradition of gender oppression in organized religion.

If this sounds like an exaggeration to you, you're probably on the right side of the coin.

I too never really understood the struggle until I became pregnant and was on the receiving end of unsolicited advice and opinions of people who wanted to decide my life for me. I never really understood the struggle until I found out I was being paid less than a man for doing the same job (in spite of possessing more qualifications!).

I didn't even know about "International Women's Day" until I lived overseas!  How many news channels are actually covering IWD today? So the majority of women don't wear hijabs here, but let's not kid ourselves...The USA is NOT a friendly place for women or families. No woman should have to choose between having a career and having a family. We need to redistribute childcare and elderly care work to empower women. We need to reallocate federal tax dollars spent on military expenditures and subsidize support for families. We need to be not just pro-birth but pro-life across the entire lifespan.

We need to stop laughing at stay at home dads and celebrate them with fanfare. We need to normalize involvement of fathers because it's good for the child, it's good for societies and it's good for mankind.

If it can be done in other countries, I'm sure we can figure out how to do it here.
The promise of equity is possible. It starts with an unwavering commitment to a fair chance for every girl-families, communities, governments and their partners can and must work collectively to set in motion a virtuous cycle of equity for today's girls, and for generations to come.

Some facts and figures for you, on this International Women's Day, 2017:

Geography, wealth and gender are key markers of inequality for children.  The poorest girls are more likely to be married as children and less likely to have equitable and equal access to health care, education and social-emotional support.

Conflict, natural disasters and climate change also undermines equitable education for girls. Based on estimates for 2013, some 59 million girls are still missing out on their right to primary school education. Globally, two thirds of secondary school-aged children are enrolled in school; in the least developed countries, only one third are. It's not a question of intelligence, but rather access; in most countries with available data, girls outperform boys in reading.

Africa's increasing share of the world's child population makes investing in girls, particularly the poorest, more imperative than ever.

We have the tools needed to disrupt the destructive cycle of marginalization. Let's do something about it...

Happy #IWD2017 to all the wonderful, diverse, challenging, supportive women in my life. I could not do what I do without you. Thank you.

1 comment

  1. Now, this world is getting a better place for women now many people see men and women equally and this is something and should be appreciated.