I’ve been a mother of three who had the blessing of taking time off from my career to raise a family. I entered back into the workforce and built my career over the last eight years from Administrative Assistant to Director with C&W Services. International Women’s Day and the theme #EachforEqual has many meanings but, for me, based on my experiences, it boils down to one thing: we are all people and need to strip away our bias, social expectations, gender roles and our judgements. At the end of the day, we’re all human and have something to offer regardless of our gender.
It is important to take responsibility for how we interact with people of all backgrounds, ages, genders, sexual orientations, political views, experience levels, etc. because there is something to be learned from everyone. When we judge someone because of their gender or physical appearance, we limit our capabilities as a society by ruling out or underestimating what they have to offer. If we lead from a place of curiosity and lean in to learning about varying human circumstances and history, we can leverage that cultural knowledge, extend empathy and compassion, better collaborate and create a more unified solution moving forward.
We all— not just women—deserve to be equal. Equality is a human issue, not just a women’s issue and the thought that the responsibility of shifting societal or business norms lays on one group would be a disservice. It is up to everyone to work together and not put the onus on just one group. We all need to be responsible for making decisions that better the masses.
Thanks to the strong women in our history who pushed the barriers in their time, our society is more diverse. Important note: it’s the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment granting women the right to vote in the US. We have come so far in that last century and even more so in recent years. Nearly half of the workforce is women and more women than ever are in upper management and professional occupations. Gone are the times when is was expected that woman stayed at home while men were the family breadwinners. The choices are practically endless: have a family and a career, go to college and get a degree, pursue another skill or passion in order to gain fulfillment and feel valued. The options are only restricted if you start to believe that you are held back by the societal labels that are you think are assigned to you. We earn the right to take advantage of any opportunity that arises; be ready when it comes.
We shouldn’t hide behind labels and use them as excuses. We all need to rise to the occasion, work hard, collaborate with others, take opportunities and show our worth. Working together, we can focus on finding common ground, supporting each other and presenting creative solutions instead of overcoming judgements and stigmas. If you’re in a situation that isn’t fulfilling, it is in your power to make a change.
Each for Equal means that no one is more important than the next and everyone is for everyone. With a more supportive and conscious society, we can strive to get everyone on the same playing field. Promotion and validation would purely be based on someone’s capabilities and that is exactly the type of environment I hope to cultivate for my children and future generations.