I am not one for rants. But this is probably going to be one. Because all day long people have wished me a Happy Women’s Day. And every single time someone has wished me, I have cringed inside. I have had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that won’t go away.
Women’s day was originally put in place to celebrate women’s achievements, AND to bring awareness to women’s issues. Over a hundred years later - we still need to have a day dedicated to raising awareness to issues women face - gender parity is still an evasive goal.
We still read about sexual harassment in the workplace (like the recent events at Uber). We know the wage gap still exists - Oracle was sued over this. Women are still victims of domestic abuse. The percentage of women in the boardroom is low. Women are still forced to leave the workplace, because our companies do not have policies that support the primary caregiver. Companies still do not have paid parental leave. Women don’t start as many companies as men. Women don’t run for office as often as men. We still haven’t broken the “ultimate” glass ceiling. There are still books out there telling us to play like a man and win like a woman. Women still need to learn to lean in. And we have to learn to own it. We are still celebrating our achievements today, because we’re women - not because they were awesome achievements.
We have come a long way from before. Women have worked hard, been resilient, and fought through the hard times - and we’re better off than we’ve ever been. Here’s what bothers me: that we had to suffer at all. That we had to fight at all. That we had to build resilience. That we were SO far behind - over a 100 years later and we are still having this conversation. What bothers me is that we had to have a Women’s Day at all.
So what do you do? Do you stop wishing me happy women’s day. Probably. There isn’t anything very happy about this day for me. It reminds we have a LOT of work still left to do. That we’re not done yet. That we’re probably just beginning. Yes - we should celebrate our achievements. But not just today. We should celebrate our achievements every day. Today - we should effect change.
After working about 40-55 hours a week, I spend a few hours every week volunteering for some causes. I work with ChickTech
. I work with Write Speak Code
. I co-founded the Wonder Women - Chicagoland meetup group
. I’ve often been told I’m involved in too many things; that I’m an over-achiever. I’ve often been asked how do I get the time for all of this? My response: I make time - because sometimes I lie awake at night wondering what I could have done differently today - could I have spent more time making this world a better place, for the next generation of women? For our daughters, nieces, and grand children…?
What can you do differently? You could help by raising awareness. Next time, when you’re wishing someone Happy Women’s Day - remember to tell them to lookup their salary on Glassdoor so they can guess if they’re being compensated appropriately. Next time you have the opportunity - show them Audi’s Super Bowl ad on the gender wage gap. Or if you’re in the boardroom, and you are discussing HR policies - you could tell them that statistics show that companies can save up to $19 billion in training and replacement costs, if they provided 16 weeks of paid parental leave. If you’re man and you’re married…and you’r reading this. Then put this down and go help your wife with the dishes, or housework or whatever. Because even today - working women spend about twice as much time on housework than working men. You’re a part of this statistic. And your behavior can help change this statistic. We’re all a part of the statistics. And every little thing we do - could go a long way.
We still have a long way to go. How will we know we have achieved our goal? Because that would be the day we dissolve International Women’s Day for good.
For today, don’t wish me a Happy Women’s Day. Instead, be the change you want to see in the world.