Women. We are smart. We are strong. We are brave. We are kind. We nurture and protect. We design and invent. We dream. We love.
We make up 50.2% of the world’s population and yet in every democratic nation we are still grossly underrepresented in positions of political power. In developing nations, we are unable to leave the house without a male escort, go to school or have the freedom to say no to FGM or to an arranged marriage.
It may be 2018 but the fight is far from over. Still we must fight to be heard. To be recognised. RESPECTED.
In the wake of #timesup and the #metoo movements, as well as the centenary celebration of the women’s vote in the U.K., today- International Women’s Day- felt supercharged. Unapologetic. Demanding.
We are done waiting. The time for change is now.
And whilst we as women need to stand in solidarity with one another, to raise each other up when the world around us tries to tear us down, it is the Mothers I write to in particular.
Because you are raising the next generation. You are nurturing the minds of young men who
can must grow up knowing that NO really does mean NO. You are shaping the thoughts of young women who might must be courageous enough to realise that their worth is beyond their biological attributes.
When advertising and the media tries to break your daughter’s self esteem and then sell her products to fill the void, you will be able to step in and show her the importance of self-love.
When she thinks her value is based upon looks or on whether or not she has a boyfriend/girlfriend, you can set her straight and remind her of all the incredibly smart, talented women that have made the pages of history in their own right and not for being somebody’s wife.
When society tells your son to “man up,” that empathy and emotion are strictly for ‘girls’, you can teach him that these qualities are a sign of strength, not weakness, and that they go beyond gender to unite us all in being one thing- human.
When the world tells him that his worth is measured by financial and material success, you can gently remind him that the only worthwhile thing in life is happiness.
Those of you on Instagram will know that I’ve recently read Grayson Perry’s ‘The Descent Of Man’ which is a must read for anyone interested in gender roles, masculinity and the patriarchy. In it he argues (rather solidly, might I add) that gender roles are by and large learnt, instead of an innate sense of biology. Which means that we, as mothers, as parents, have got a head start in raising the change we wish to see in the world.
The future is female.
Happy International Women’s Day!