International Women’s Day: recognising the flaws, appreciating the good

*This is belated due to a scheduling error. My apologies.*

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women. It’s a day that we seem to be gifted, for a variety of reasons that are never confirmed. Is it because we are simply female? Or is it because we push through hurdles; we have challenged stereotypes of our gender and we’re still pushing those boundaries; or is it just another day in the year to celebrate?

My experiences with the women in my life have been beloved, adored and at times, complicated. I am not a girls girl, I am one of the lads, the adviser to the guys. But I was raised by a single mother, always at my nan’s, I have two very inspirational aunties and two most precious sisters. I have met fantastic women in the work place, successful teachers and I admire every single one for the lessons they have taught me and the encouragement given over the years.

Women shape women, we build each other up, we craft friendships based on subjects only women could truly understand- the ways our bodies are manipulated by hormones for contraception, the standards we have to live up to when it comes to beauty and the pressure to either succeed and be a girl boss, or a stay at home mother. We are always meant to be there for each other, to build and prosper, growing the next generation of women.

All over the world, there are women that don’t have people routing for them. Women have issues in so many places of the world, some are very extreme and dangerous, but these women are survivors, fighters, vigilantes. As women, we should be providing a voice for them especially on a day like today. All women are valid, non-western issues for women are valid, trans-women are valid, women of colour ARE VALID.

This day seems to always take me back to a time where I felt I wasn’t good enough to be a woman. I wasn’t one of the girls, I felt uncomfortable in my appearance and sense of self because of relentless bullying by a group of girls. These girls, although at the time I was so scared of them and they made me suicidal, I will now thank them. I will thank these women, for showing me how not to be. For showing me to be the opposite, to always show compassion, kindness and wit. I am grateful for the lessons they showed me, after I grew from the pain they put me through, I realised the sky is the limit.

So this day is for us, a day for us to be honest and open about what it is like to be a woman. The future isn’t female, the future is equal, but women are as valid as men and this deserves to be seen, not strictly in the western world as we are improving now, but in all parts of the world, too. We are more than just strong girl bosses, we are everything we put our minds to. We are maternal, indestructible, relentless, sensitive, compassionate, loyal, fierce, feisty, aggressive, successful, wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, stubborn, undeniable.

We are the women of the world. And every single one of us, deserves the world to hear us.

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