Did you know it was International Women's Day?
Now, don't go and second guess my post by checking out the bearer of all truth, Google. It's true. Today is a celebration to honor you, your sisters, mother, female peers, and all women around the world. You're asking yourself, "Why didn't I get the memo?" Well, don't feel like you were the last to know as I just found out this year too! Perhaps the memo was stuck to your laundry list of endless to dos: work, take care of the kids, clean, cook, volunteer, go to the gym (if you're lucky), spend quality time with your significant other (also only if you're lucky), and take care of aging parents.
Unbeknownst to me, having thirty creeping on forty years of being an American woman, I learned that International Women's Day (IWD) started in the early 1900's to create equality both economically and politically for women. It was first implemented by the United States, Denmark, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and Russia. However, IWD has since grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. And still with so many countries celebrating, I still didn't know of this VIP holiday smack dab in between Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day.
With all joking aside, I have always felt very lucky to have been born at the time and in the country that I did. However, the hard truth is that there is much to be done for women's rights both domestically in the USA and abroad. In the land of the free and home of the brave, women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business (for literary artists/writers check out VIDA) or politics, and globally women's education (check out Girl Rising), health and the violence against them is worse than that of men.
It's shocking, but true. AND, it's 2014. BTW, how do you say 2014 anyway? Two thousand fourteen or twenty fourteen...
Regardless, throughout the 1900's and to date, great improvements have been made globally. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. Thus, IWD has begun to move from being a reminder about the negatives to a celebration of the positives.
So I ask you to celebrate today and every day as International Women's Day! Play your Carole King, Gloria Gaynor, Kelly Clarkson, or your favorite female songbird and sing along. Call your girlfriends, buy your mother flowers, and eat dessert first.
Make sure that you do your part to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe, and rewarding.
Can you help another woman accomplish her goals? Do you have wisdom that you can share to other women along their paths? This year, I'm sharing my wisdom through an inspirational memoir called When All Balls Drop due out in the fall.
Join me today and every day in supporting your mother, sisters, friends, female peers, and all women. We need to start spreading the word!