As I walked to work today, I felt pumped for a day of celebrating female empowerment, the wonder of women and all things vagina-orientated.
I, like many others, plugged into an occasion-appropriate Spotify playlist (think Destiny’s Child, TLC and En Vogue); texted all the important women in my life to thank them for being so amazing and posted a collage on Instagram, in homage to those who have guided me through life. I even bought cookies for my work colleagues.
But then it dawned on me.
On a day like today, we shouldn’t be focusing on our close friends and family. We shouldn’t be only be thinking of those who inspire us in the workplace or online. There are thousands of women across the world who need serious help and, on a day like today, we should instead be taking action to make change happen.
I was going to write a post today about the 5 women who have shaped my life. It might have been interesting, sure. But Snapchat (of all things) was the thing that made me wake up and smell the problem with it. By bringing to mind three women of the past who have had a real impact on the way we, as women, lives our lives today, it made me realise how much we need to take action, just as they did.
Take Frida Kahlo, for example. She lived a life of hope and defiance, touching on abortion, miscarriage and a near fatal accident in her artwork: a signifier of non-conformity. Rosa Parks – an American civil rights activist best known for her fantastic refusal to move and Marie Curie, a woman who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity as a way to cure cancer.
Three women who really made a fucking impact. Not just women who were able to write really well about how we could go about doing it.
The thing we need to remember is that these women weren’t magic, special or one of a kind. They, to all their nearest and dearest, were just like you or I. Ordinary women who simply believed things could be better. They just fought a little bit harder, shouted a little louder and, as a result, made a significant change in the same way you and all those women around you can too.
Although I think it is beautiful we’ve taken today to celebrate those around us, we need to make efforts to become like those strong women of the past who were forever thinking of the bigger picture, for we are the inspirational women of the future. If we don’t make use of the platform they’ve given us, then what use was it them protesting, fighting or dying for it? And what sort of platform will we be passing on to our daughters?
I want to become the type of woman people look back on and remember for taking action against FGM, sex trafficking and for fighting for equal educational rights for women around the globe. Not for posting feminist quotes on Instagram and making witty banners to hold high at demonstrations.
Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not belittling the changes happening in the world. I’m excited about the rumble I can hear beneath my feet. Women finally have a voice, a power and I can feel things changing. I just want to make sure our efforts are being channelled into all the right avenues and that we’re using this movement we’ve created to its greatest effect.
Inspirational women of the past generally stood alone in their battles, we have the privilege of progression, plus there’s a lot more of us fighting together now, so let’s channel that and make those women of the past proud.
Happy International Women’s Day, everyone.