International Women’s Day was first celebrated by the UN on March 8, 1977. It is a day designed to celebrate women’s contributions to society. A day to encourage gender parity and to boost support for women’s organizations. IWD has enjoyed a recent surge of recognition via the influence of social media. By all accounts, IWD is a day to celebrate women and all we bring to the table. So, why then, as a stay-at-home mom of three boys have I not felt included in a day intended to celebrate… people like me? The answer is more complex than perhaps is doable here in a few hundred words. If you find yourself feeling left out like me, here are my thoughts, and what we can do.
Why I Didn’t Feel Included
I have chosen to forgo a career to raise my children. Most importantly, my days are rooted deeply in helping my son’s become honest, loyal, hard-working, courageous, loving men. This has been a decision that is both deeply personal for my (every) family. This decisions value is seemingly up for debate by society. Above all, I am certain that this was (and is) best for our family. However, the door somehow gets left open for uncertainty as I get older and the opportunity for a career has nearly passed me by.
I am not raising daughters. And busting glass ceilings has never been my thing. Certainly, both are vital to our collective lives. But, I got the idea that those accomplishments were my only ticket to the right to celebrate International Women’s Day. Let me be clear, no one was excluding me… but me. I suppose it comes from the small seed of doubt that we all harbor. The quiet voice that tells us that maybe we aren’t enough.
Above No One, Below No One
So, what if I’m wrong? Perhaps what I think is work beneath the threshold worth celebrating is actually the exact work that needs to be done to celebrate International Women’s Day. Gender parity, true equality, can’t happen without the rise of women, and of men who support them. It can’t be done without young men who value and respect all others. Without the inclusion of all women, it won’t work. For it to be successful all women need to know their worth. We are above no one, and below no one.
Celebrate Us All for International Women’s Day
Instead of scrolling past #womensday posts with a sense of unease and exlcusion, this year I will participate. I will celebrate the work I have done–and continue to do–to raise three young men who support and encourage women. I will celebrate the work others have done to pave the way for me to have the choice to stay home. Using my voice to celebrate women dancing in high heels and women living in yoga pants, I will celebrate us all.
Raising men to support women is no easy task. Looking for a perspective on celebrating International Women’s Day with your little men, head here!