The world is celebrating today, March 8, as Women’s Day. Women have come a long way from the day when this celebration officially began in 1977, yet their gender continues to put them in a disadvantageous position. The journey to creating an equal society for women is still a long one.
International Women’s Day is celebrated in most part of the world as a day to recognize women’s achievements and to acknowledge their courage for breaking through patriarchal system to build a place for themselves. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is “Choose to Challenge” which is calling on all women and every individual to be responsible for their actions and thoughts and to challenge them which will be the harbinger for change. The change is necessary to overcome obstacles when she is out to reach her goals.
Why should everyone, men or women, be a champion for women empowerment? Because having an empowered woman is not just beneficial for her but is advantageous for the family, society and country. Research has shown that women’s empowerment leads to strong families, well-rounded children, boost in economic productivity, makes institutions more representative, and makes life better for everyone.
Women’s Day is not just about celebrating womanhood but a day to look at the labyrinth of challenges a young girl faces and help dismantle those. It is a time to think of the collective action required to help a woman as it is well understood that women generally have to exert more effort to achieve a goal or overcome the obstacles. Like Gloria Steinem, world-renowned feminist and journalist said women’s empowerment cannot be viewed in isolation: “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights.”
The Immigrant Life believes that empowering every individual, particularly the immigrant woman is instrumental in creating respectful communities across Canada. Women are the protagonists of their own life, their families, their workplaces, and the communities they live in and providing them the resources and opportunities to perform to the best of their abilities will help everyone thrive.
Women are the protagonists of their own life, their families, their workplaces, and the communities they live in thus providing them the resources and opportunities to perform to the best of their abilities will help everyone thrive.
On this Women’s Day, The Immigrant Life urges you to take steps towards creating a gender equal society. Here are some things you can do every day to create the space for women, honor and acknowledge them.
- The gendered perspectives begin at home. As a parent you can help build a person: Nurture a daughter, the way you would a son. Shed those gendered assumptions and give her the freedom to think without putting in words like, “… but you’re a girl.”
- Share household chores. Home is everyone’s sanctuary. It should not be the responsibility of a woman alone to keep it clean and functioning.
- Support girls and women facing difficult situation. Many girls and women all over the world are subjected to abuse, violence, child labor, trafficking, unwanted child marriage etc. Step up, stand up and speak up for them when you see these inhuman practices taking place.
- Help girls and women recognize their own worth and value them.
- Mentor a girl. Young girls need to see themselves as strong women. Be one or show them one.
- Do not shame women for not doing everything right. Encourage women and give them space just like you’d to a man.
- Help a new mother. Motherhood is physically and mentally exhausting for a new mom. Be an ally and help her through this journey by lending a hand at home, providing her the time-off she needs at work and any other ways possible.
- Show women in your life you care for them by standing by them, being there for them and cheering for their small feats and big milestones.
- In your workplace you can start by ensuring that more women are hired. Not just in those peripheral jobs but in central roles.
- Help women rise up by opening the path for promotion.
- Make women leaders. Help women assume leadership roles and allow them to make decisions.
- Invest in their ideas. Help them build programs, products or services of those ideas.
- Encourage women to build their enterprises. Listen and support women’s entrepreneurial ideas, emotionally and financially. Make some donations or get her the loan.
- Keep a check on your assumptions and biases about women and encourage the discussion of biases in your workplace when you notice a lack of inclusivity and diversity. These biases can often surface in the way women are described, from her physical attributes or her choice of attires to her performance. Make sure that the feedback is constructive and not viewed through the gender lens.
- Value a woman for what she brings to the table. Give her credit for successful outcomes.
- Bring her in the network. Introduce your women colleagues to the influential people and help her get to know them and vice versa. These personal connections can reshape careers.
And for women; While there is a lot that the other person, the man, the society or community can do to change the status of women, it is also upon every woman to change the situation too.
Women can do anything they set out to do. But as women we should not be overwhelmed by the pressure to keep our careers blossoming and our families prospering and houses shining. It is important to be realistic, prioritize and achieve those goals one at a time. To be the best version of ourselves, women need to recognize their potential, have confidence in their abilities and find allies along the path.
If you are a new immigrant or already a settled immigrant, you can help build a community by extending your hand or services to the new women who are navigating this new territory.