Wednesday, 8 March 2017

To Women, On International Women's Day

Hello everyone!


It is March 8th, International Women's Day, the day when us women celebrate who we are, and how far we have come in the last century.

Women can now vote.  We can go to university.  We can be doctors, scientists, innovators, leaders, and anything else we want to be.  We can wear pants.  We can wear skirts above the knee.  We can control our reproduction so that we can have children at a time in our lives that suits us, or not at all.  We can speak in public, we can discuss issues, and we can remove ourselves from the private sphere to contribute to the world around us.

On International Women's Day, I want to thank all of the women who have made an impact on my life.  I want to thank my mother, for choosing to have children and for raising me to believe I can do whatever I dream in.  I want to thank my grandmother and my nana, two amazingly strong and nurturing women who support me and encourage me and love me. I want to thank the women who provided me with care growing up, who taught me manners and respect and who allowed my mother to continue to work after having children.

I want to thank my female teachers, who showed me that women are the backbones of the education system.  I want to thank my female profs, who showed me that women belong in education, and can achieve the highest levels of it.

I want to thank every women I have encountered in my time in the workforce.  Each and every one of them has achieved so much  in their fields, they are truly an example to us all and many have served as exceptional mentors to me.

I want to thank the women who have accepted me into their families.  To my friends, who are more like my sisters.  To my partner's sisters who have become my friends and sisters too.  To my partner's mother who welcomed me into their family.  To all the women in his family who have made me feel accepted. All of these people have different paths, different aspirations, and different interests, but the common thread that binds them is that they achieve.  They are not afraid to work, to fight for what they want, and their strength fills me with awe.

I also want to thank some men in my life, because without them I would not be the woman I am today.  I need to thank my dad, who has supported me through my entire life, and who believes that women can do anything men can do.  To my brother, who refuses to buy into the sexist notions that often permeate the locker rooms and change rooms of his sports teams.  To my partner, who has been an unflinching supporter of everything I want to do (even when it seems crazy) because he believes in the strength of women.  He was raised in a family with three exceptionally strong ladies, after all!

As someone who lives in a world of fantasy, I feel like I need to thank some fictional ladies and their creators while I'm here.  Thank you to Hermione and J.K. Rowling for teaching me from age 6 that you can be smart and strong and achieve everything you want to, even if you're a girl.  Thank you to Buffy Summers and Joss Whedon, for teaching me into my adulthood that girls can kick ass.  And thank you to all the female celebs who have played strong, female characters in movies and TV shows.  The media shapes us more than we would like to admit, and seeing those types of characters had a huge influence on my psyche.

I know our work is still not done.  I know it every time a man shouts at me from the street or a passing vehicle.  I know it every time someone accuses someone else of doing something "like a girl".  But today, I want to be thankful for all of the women who have showed me my own abilities and inner strengths.  So thank you to all of them, your love, support, and strength inspire me every day.

Happy International Women's Day.  May your path me unmarked by the toxic vitriol that spews from the mouth of the patriarchy.

Laura