International Women’s Day – 8th March

Mar 4, 2020

Did you know that the first International Women’s Day (IWD) was in 1911? Neither did I. To be honest, I wasn’t really aware of IWD until a couple of years ago. I remember thinking at the time that it must be a relatively new thing. How wrong was I? So I decided to educate myself.

A little history
In a nutshell, IWD is on 8th March and is about celebrating the achievements of women whether social, economic, political or cultural. It’s about encouraging everyone to help in speeding up gender equality. And as IWD is international it’s not specific to a country, group or organisation.

Each year, IWD has a theme. The theme for 2020 is #EachforEqual. The focus being that if as individuals we each take reasonability for encouraging equality and challenging stereotypes then we are more likely to make an impact.

So what do I think?
This got me thinking about my own gender journey.

Both of my parents are Greek Cypriots and so I was raised in a male dominated culture. A culture that, when I was young, gave boys freedom and wrapped girls up in cotton wool. I remember thinking how unfair this was but not really knowing what to do about it. Fortunately, I was never shy in making my feelings known and I was astute enough to know how far I could push my point. In my mind, I was never going to be anything less than equal. But I spent a lot of time proving I was equal and looking for recognition.

I obviously enjoyed the challenge of being in a male-dominated environment because I then went to work for Rolls-Royce. I must admit I was a little naïve. It wasn’t until some time in my second week that it dawned on me that I was very much in a minority.

Throughout my 17 year career, I worked hard to climb the career ladder and I’m proud of what I achieved. The fact that so many of my colleagues were men never bothered me. I was use to being in a ‘mans’ world. Personally, I was focused on getting the job done. That’s not to say that it was an easy ride. I can remember having a few ‘run-ins’ with senior male colleagues but this just made me more determined. I do know that this can be intimidating. And I remember having several conversations with female colleagues who were uncomfortable with it or did feel like their voices weren’t being heard.

What I’ve come to realise is that I’m very lucky. I’m assertive and stubborn and when I’m focused on achieving something very little can stop me. But I’m an individual and although I feel I have a voice there are plenty of women who do not. We are a community. There is much an individual can achieve but a team is more effective.

This is not just about women having a voice. It’s a call to action for everyone. It’s about the power of ‘we’ and not the struggle of ‘I’. It shouldn’t be about gender and for me it isn’t about gender. It is about everyone being respectful of each other as we are all individuals.

For my children…
It would be too easy to say that I want my daughter to strive to be the best she can regardless of gender and to encourage my son to be respectful of women. But actually, it’s more than that.

I want both of them to strive to be the best they can. I want both of them to respect people no matter what their gender or race and anything else that may make individuals individual. I want them both to appreciate how the world has changed significantly in more than 100 years since the first IWD. The sacrifices that have been made. The battles that have been fought. It’s all too easy to take this progress for granted. After all, for them, they know only today’s world.

I’m pleased to say that my daughter, who is nearly 7, wants to be a vet and a mummy when she grows up. As for my son, who is 4, he wants to build sparkly houses.

That’s ‘International Women’s Day’ according to Mummy on a Break.

How will you help to support #EachforEqual?

If you’d enjoyed reading this article, you might also like to read ‘Having the courage to change

If you can relate then follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

If you enjoyed reading my blog then share it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.