When I woke up this morning, I rolled over to my pup for our daily dose of morning cuddles. I reached for my phone, turned off the twelve snoozed alarms, and scrolled through my social media feeds. Today was different than most days though. Every post was about women. Strong women. Smart women. Young and old women. Complicated, kind, creative, and innovative women. Daughters, mothers, sisters, and friends. I am honored that I know so many of those women and, when I woke up this morning, I was inspired to make all of those women proud.
“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”
International Women’s Day commemorates the movement for women’s rights throughout the world. Today, we celebrate women like astronaut Sally Ride, feminist artist Frida Kahlo, female education advocate Malala Yousafzai, and Civil Rights activist Ida B. Wells. We celebrate the every day women too. We celebrate all of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements women have made thus far. And today, we keep fighting for more.
I am lucky. I grew up in a good family, always had a roof over my head, and never went to bed hungry. I was given a great education and countless opportunities. I was raised to believe I could do or be anything I wanted, and I never believed that being a woman would hold me back from those things. So why are people still fighting for equality in 2017? Because there are girls and women who are told “no,” or taught to believe that they are worth less because they are girls and women. Because women make up half of the work force but are paid only 80¢ (or less, particularly for women of color) for every dollar earned by men. Because women don’t always have a say to their own bodies or reproductive rights.
The most influential people in my life have always been women. I listened to their music, watched them on television and in movies, read their books, enjoyed their art, learned from their lessons. My family is full of some of the strongest and smartest women—my mother, my sister, my grandmothers, my aunts, my cousins—and they taught me to fight for myself, to be adventurous, to be good. Devoted teachers gave me the confidence to succeed, while teammates, tough and talented, showed me that we could accomplish more together. My closest friends are brave and brilliant and beautiful; they supported me and raised me up. All of these strong female friendships, my chosen sisters, have inspired me to become the fearless, empowered, proud woman I am today.
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.” ―Audre Lorde
Women are sometimes described as superheroes or goddesses for all that they do and all that they are capable of doing. But there’s a lot to be said for the women who aren’t superheroes or goddesses too. We make mistakes. We have fears. We get sad and angry and jealous. We aren’t perfect, but I believe we are magic. When we fall, we wipe off our bloody knees and get back up. And we fight, and we love, and we persevere. We strive to create a better future for ourselves, for our daughters and children, so that all women everywhere may live freely and equally. We aren’t there yet, but we’re on our way.
We are women. Hear us roar!