While today is not the only day where we should focus on this, we are a little more vocal today. It’s sad that in 2020 we still need to draw attention to inequalities…not just with women but many other groups.
I would love to suggest that equality is what we should strive for but that can’t be true if we all have differences. We start from different places, we have different needs, different goals and different measures of success. While I believe that we should all have equal value, equal status and an equal voice, I also believe that equity and fairness (yes, a subjective term but more individualized to people and groups of people) is just as important.
I know it’s easy for me to say when I have been given opportunities that many others around the world have not. I was born at the end of the 60’s, a decade of change. I live in Canada. My parents said I could be anything and they truly believed it and made me believe it. I had a roof over my head, went to good schools and have never considered why I couldn’t vote, or be Prime Minister, a CEO, or even a priest (yes that caused some controversy).
I have been a server, a cleaner, a gas station attendant as well as an Assistant Vice-President at a major financial institution and for the last 10 years an entrepreneur. I didn’t stop to think at any point in time how my gender would impact my decisions.
I’ve been called courageous and determined. You can call me lucky, entitled, out of touch, naïve or optimistic. At the end of the day I believed in the power of me. The power I had to get what I wanted. The power I had to change or change things I didn’t like. I certainly didn’t gain any of my success in a vacuum. Sometimes the power of me needed a boost from the power of others.
Today is about embracing differences and embracing change. It’s about embracing YOU. Whoever you are. Whatever gender you are or identify with.
I don’t want this to sound like I’m diminishing the challenges of the women who came before me. I am not. Without their strength to call for change, I wouldn’t be where I am.
I also know that my experience is not the norm in many places around the world.
I have a daughter and I hope that my support, my decisions, my successes and the paths I have taken will give her the confidence to create her own path, free of limitations.
I have sons who I hope I’ve also been a role model for. My hope is that they continue to treat others with respect and fairness. That they open paths or divert paths when roadblocks or limitations are present.
On Sunday March 8, 2020 I ask that you continue to embrace your power, to change your world, and to celebrate the paths of those who came before you.