Where would the world be without women?
Besides the fact a single gender cannot reproduce on its own, a world without women would be a world much further behind in more ways than one. History points back to female heroes such as Laura Secord and Viola Desmond, and science towards Maria Curie, and Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Dorothy Vaughan. These ladies and many, many more fought for their beliefs and changed the world with their wit, strength, and tenacity.
Women are integral to our lives, and yet the world continues to leave them behind in the shadows.
We celebrate International Women’s Day so that the women from our past, as well as the ones of our present and future, are given the recognition that they deserve. This is also a day where we can all support women in pursuing professional and social equity; which is this year’s IWD theme, along with the hashtag #BalanceForBetter.
Women need to support each other. This may sound like a no-brainer, but we (as women) are often pressured in both professional and social settings to compete with one another for the “top spot”, particularly in male-dominated areas. The niceties are abandoned in favour of a ‘every women for herself’ mindset. In my mind, this is completely unacceptable. If we want to “smash the patriarchy” and change the world for all women, we must fight for each other and not with each other.
Pixar recently released an animated short called Purl as part of their SparkShorts series, and I think it is a great example of both the wrong and right way to support our ‘sisters’ in the professional and social world.
It may sound like an impossible dream, changing the world for women everywhere, but you can start simply by fighting for the women in your own life – just as Purl did! By no means do I declare myself a professional on this topic, but I am a woman and I have maintained strong and meaningful relationships with many of the women in my life. You can do the same by following my tips for being a Wonder Woman; the kind of woman who fights for, supports, and loves the women in her life.
Be your own Wonder Woman
1) Celebrate each other’s successes
This is a very important part of being a supportive ally. Jealousy can so easily wedge its way into our hearts when someone in our life experiences success. Your best friend got her dream job? Your sister aced her exams? Your co-worker got engaged? That’s awesome! Send her your support in a way that shows your happiness for her. We women thrive when we celebrate each other’s successes and not just our own.
YouTuber and #GirlLove advocate Lilly Singh knows all about what it means to celebrate each other as women. Lilly has the attention of over 6 million girls on a regular basis through her YouTube channel*. Upon realizing that she was in a position of influence, she decided to speak out about an issue that was largely affecting her audience: girl-on-girl hate. Lilly collaborated with several women on the platform to discuss girl-on-girl hate, the damage that it does, and to begin a new trend to combat the issue. She made a web-wide call for women to compliment the women they admire using the hashtag #GirlLove. Her campaign continues to empower women everywhere to celebrate each other and their successes.
* as of December 28, 2015
2) Show your appreciation
This is one where you don’t need to wait for a special event or time. It’s an any occasion thing! Any time of the day, week, or month: tell the women in your life that you love and appreciate them.
There are so many ways that you can do this, but it’s best to do it in a way that you both feel comfortable giving and receiving. For some, it’s as simple as a meaningful text message. For others, it’s a long hug or a small gesture, like taking over the chores for the day. My personal favourite is handmade goods from the kitchen: cookies, muffins, scones, anything really! You can also just tell them in person, over a cup of tea or coffee. However you choose, you can be sure that she will love hearing it from you.
If you’re really curious about how you can best show your love, get you and your women friends to take the love languages quiz! A love language is the way in which people speak and understand emotional love. Knowing your friend’s of family’s love languages can help you to better understand and communicate with them. And it’s not just for romantic relationships; you can use this for any person in your life, whether it’s a friend, family member, or co-worker.
3) Pep talks
Whether she’s experiencing an ‘up’ or a ‘down’ in her life, a pep talk is a great way to show your support for any woman in your life. Lift her up with words of praise when she feels like she’s rocking life, and console her with words of encouragement when she’s going through a rough patch.
This also goes in hand with making time for each other. Life gets busy, and no one should expect you to be answering your texts immediately or checking emails every minute of the day, but it is important to reach out to them and respond rather than leaving it sit for days. In a world full of women tearing each other down, change the tide and boost each other up in any situation that calls for it!
4) Make time for each other
This one sounds simple enough, but can often become a whole ordeal when life gets in the way. And by life getting in the way, I mean that our priorities change. However, shouldn’t the women in our life – the ones we love and appreciate – have top priority? Maybe they don’t have the #1 spot, but surely they should be in our Top 5 or 10!
Making time for each other doesn’t even have to mean anything big. It’s as simple as scheduling a time where you can call or video chat and be sure that you’re completely free of distractions. However you choose to do it doesn’t matter because it’s about the time you spend catching-up and checking-in with each other. If you’re able to, meet face-to-face as often as you can! There’s something nice about talking in person that doesn’t come across when you’re speaking through a screen. Make time and stick to it!
International Women’s Day shouldn’t be just a once-a-year celebration, but an every day celebration. Step up and raise your voice when you see inequality in the workplace, lend your time and voice when you see that your ‘girl’ friends are in need, and never stop being the Wonder Woman you are!