Lets talk about women
In honor of ‘Women’s Month’ and the fact that us women - are amazing!
I have been spending a lot of time reading which has always been something I loved doing when I was younger but never made time for when I got married and had kids. I remember as a child my fascination at the amount of reading my mom used to do and what really stood out for me was that through reading she broadened her general knowledge and perspective substantially and could therefore partake in any conversation from religion to politics to life in general with a solid and informed point of view.
I bought my mom two books for Christmas, "The moment of lift" by Melinda Gates and "Becoming" by Michelle Obama and since we are spending time with them currently I decided to start with these 2 books. The amount I have learnt just from these 2 books written by powerful and respected women is incredible! I am not going to go into the details of each book but what I would like to share with you is the overarching message I learnt from both of them.
In order for us to progress as a society at large, globally, we need to recognise the contribution women make to our society. I used to think that a "feminist" was a "bad" word with a lot of negative connotations, but what I have learnt in my life thus far and through these books is that feminism at its heart "is not about putting men down but rather about lifting women up to the level of men" as Melinda Gates put it. It's about recognising how much more women can do to contribute substantially to the global economy if they are just given the equal right and chance to do so.
Sadly there are still so many countries in the world which continue to suppress women's rights due to cultural norms that have been passed down over centuries. Another thing I have leant from an article I read in the Harvard Review was that it doesn't matter how much scientific based evidence you have to support a change that needs to be made, if someone has a strong perception about something, this perception will continue to prevail regardless. Instead what we should be doing is getting buy in from these cultures by spending time with them and getting to understand them a lot better and then slowly but surely showing them through examples of people from their own community, the success they can achieve by allowing women a say and a chance to work.
Women need to stand up and support each other and a lot more of us need to be more vocal about insisting on being seen and treated as equals in all spheres of life from equal respect to equal pay. The global pandemic we are currently facing has truly exposed these inequalities even more with the latest research done in South Africa showing that 2 million of the 3 million jobs that have been lost have been women's jobs. "It always seems impossible until its done" is a quote from Nelson Mandela that I always remind myself of. It starts with every one of us women including so many men out there who are also advocating and supporting for this change to happen!