In a few days, March 8, 2017, women around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day. According to their website, the day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. And the day marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
In 2017, the achievements our gender has made in society are more visible than ever. We can vote, true, and we’re nearing on the 100th anniversary of suffrage. And the strides have been even greater than that. We’ve seen women holding high office. Madeleine Albright became the first woman to hold the office of Secretary of State in 1997, and since then 3 of the last 6 have been women. We’ve seen a female Attorney General, four different women on the U.S. Supreme Court, and many other cabinet positions. The first woman elected to the U.S. House happened in 1917 and the first U.S. Senator a handful of years later in 1932. And most recently, we’ve seen the first woman to run for President for a major political party. We see women owning companies and heading corporations. They are doctors, lawyers, scientists, astronauts. Our gender has cracked the glass ceiling, but there is still work to do.
Attention for women’s achievements ebbs and flows in news cycles, but seems to be at the forefront of late. Women, as a whole, are still not paid equally to their male counterparts. Women are still not present in equal numbers in business and politics. And globally, many improvements are still needed for women’s education and health, as well as the disproportionate numbers of violence against women.
The 2017 theme for International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange. Change is still needed. At our current rate of speed, the gender gap won’t close entirely until the year 2186, according to the World Economic Forum. But, if we are bold for change, we can make that happen faster.
Change can be big or small. What kinds of things can we, as women, change as individuals? Below are 5 things we can work on to better ourselves and to help leave our mark on the world.
Have you ever heard of the phrase “mind over matter”? I’ll bet you have. That’s what I mean by perspective. The first step to making change in our lives is changing our perspective of things. I hate getting groceries every week or doing laundry. But, since they are necessary chores to the well-being of my family, I do them. I can look at them with dread, or I can be thankful that I have the funds to buy food for my family. I can clothe my children and keep their clothes clean. Maybe, I have a family member or co-worker that is difficult to be around. I can choose to avoid them or be unkind to them. Or, I can change my perception and look at things from their perspective. Looking at things from their perspective will give me a better understanding of why they are difficult, and possibly I can help them. Changing perspective can apply to almost anything in our lives.
I think this is area that is most reflective of the #BeBoldForChange theme. Most of us spend 8 – 10 of our waking hours per day at our jobs. This is time not spent with family or friends or doing things we love. With so many hours spent doing a job, it had better be something you enjoy doing. If not, make a change. Get a new job or go back to school. But, be happy in your career. Maybe you love your job, but feel that a raise or promotion is overdue. It’s time to make a change. Be bold and ask for what you feel you deserve. You may not get it, but as long as you are courteous and professional, you’ll go a long way in making cracks in that glass ceiling.
This is such a tough one for us women, but is an area of such importance. Evaluate your relationships, including friendships and family relationships. Nurture the good relationships – the ones that are good for your well-being; the ones that bring you joy; the ones you learn from and who show you kindness. Repair the fragile ones that are worth saving. And cut ties with the toxic ones. Life is too short to let others bring you down.
There are so many things we can do to change the state of our health. The obvious one is diet and exercise, but be careful in that. There are so many harmful ones out there. If you diet, choose one that includes healthy foods and doesn’t make you feel bad or lacking. Choose an active lifestyle, but know your limitations. Don’t participate in exercise that is harmful to any condition you are living with. Chose exercise that makes you feel good and something you like to do. You’re more apt to keep up with it if you do. Other things you can do to become healthier or to maintain good health include brushing and flossing your teeth, getting plenty of good sleep and avoiding or limiting things like tobacco, caffeine or alcohol. Drink plenty of water. Most doctors and nutritionists recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Finally, follow your doctor’s suggestions to improve your health. This includes wearing your compression! 😉
Most people want to leave a legacy on this world, but your legacy can be whatever you want it to be. Many women leave their legacy with meaningful careers – doctors, teachers, politicians, businesswomen, police officers, etc. Or your legacy may be motherhood. Parents are the first teachers of every child and raising well-adjusted and contributing members of society is such a huge legacy in itself. Or perhaps your legacy is the mark you leave on the world in other ways – volunteering with veterans or the homeless, fostering a child, cleaning up a local park, or even just spreading simple kindnesses to strangers.
Whatever you do, don’t be afraid to make changes happen in your life. Have faith and courage and be bold. And from all of us at Knit-Rite/Therafirm, Happy International Women’s Day!