Today, the 8th of March 2021 marks the International Women's Day!
I feel like this day is important to celebrate because it helps to reduce gender bias as it focuses on the achievements of women, whether it is a political win, social, economic or cultural. The celebration will help drive a positive change for women across the world.
The idea to make the day international came from Clara Zetkin, who suggested the idea at the International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen in 1910.
The first National Woman’s Day was celebrated across the United States on February 28 1909 so we have come a long way!
Women That Motivates Me: There are so many women whom I admire so much. Here are a few good ones:
1. Mrs Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
This powerful woman who happens to originate from my home town, is a Nigerian- American economist and international development expert, who has served as Director-General of the World Trade Organization since March 1, 2021, making her the first woman and the first African to hold the office. She sits on the boards of Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization and the African Risk Capacity - what an impressive CV! This motivates me to work harder and not be afraid to come up with creative ideas in order to improve something.
2. Angela Merkel
A German politician who has been the first female chancellor of Germany since 2005 to date! She was a leader of the Christian Democratic Union from 2000 to 2018 and has been described as the leader of the European Union, the most powerful woman in the world and by many commentators since 2016 as the "leader of the free world".
3. Mrs Michelle Obama
A lawyer and the first black lady to live in the white house. She is also an author and an
inspirational speaker. As a wife and mother, she was able to balance her career and her family life which I enjoyed reading in her book "Becoming".
4. Nicola Sturgeon
A Scottish politician serving as First Minister of Scotland and Leader of the Scottish National Party since 2014. A law graduate of the University of Glasgow, she worked as a solicitor in Glasgow.
5. Oprah Winfrey
An American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist. As a child, she lived in rural poverty with her grandmother, she was taught to read by her grandmother at the age of three and is now the most successful black women in the world! This is a motivational story as it shows one should not allow their poor upbringing in life, to affect the progress that are capable of making.
6. Jacinda Ardern
The prime minister of New Zealand whom in 2017, at the age of 37, became the
country's youngest prime minister in more than 150 years. This motivates me because it signifies that age was not be a barrier for her to gain promotion or reach the highest office in the country.
7. Amanda Gorman
A 22-year-old inaugural poet who took to the stage on President Biden's inauguration day January 2021. I was inspired by her pose as she delivered the speech with such eloquence and grace. Her poem generally focuses on issues of oppression, feminism, race. Later I got to realised she is a graduate of Harvard university - impressive!
As women, we have got to be educated, well informed of choices that would benefit us, be willing to take our seat at the table and not be afraid to push ourselves to attain our goals. Be willing to embrace change as it will always be happening, change is a part of life.
We should challenge ourselves to be adaptable and have learning hearts, in order to be comfortable with any change that we experience in the future.
Only we can know our true value, so we should strive to be the best versions of ourselves and other things will follow. Believe in yourself and remember the only one stopping you from progressing forward is yourself. I have always reminded myself to "know my worth" and to not base my values in the opinions of others, as it will lead to disappointment. Never compromise on your values. I have also come to realise that our value increases when we do not see the limitations placed on ourselves.
In my previous post on "Women in Business" published 4th October 2020, I mentioned some of the women who have made a name for themselves in Business (see the link below). You too can are capable of being just as successful as them.
So we have another International Women Day (IWD) to celebrate. How can people get involved?
People can show their support for IWD 2021; this year’s theme #ChooseToChallenge, by posting an image of themselves on social media, which most people would do for this purpose anyway. Other specific instructions includes empowering each other and taking action against inequality. On the IWD website, organisers said: “We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world”.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions and the national lock down still enforced in the United Kingdom, live events would not be allowed to take place. However, I have registered to attend several virtual events such as managing your energy not your time, which I am looking forward to. You too can get involved.
This photograph was taken at a sporting award event after my daughter returned from an athletic competition in China (a way of celebrating a lady's achievement)
On this IWD, I will be intentional in raising awareness of women's achievement (starting with this blog post). I will also be celebrating the achievement of great women, on my socials. I will reinforce my commitment in empowering the ladies around me, starting with my beautiful daughters and their friends. We should all make an effort in reducing gender stereotypes and disparity in our society so we can make a better world for the next generations to come.
How would you choose to get involved with International Women's Day 2021?