Yesterday was International Women’s Day and like always I am a day late in discussing things because I need the extra time to think it through, digest it all. I observed yesterday and social media was all about famous women, articles on gender inequality, and, true to form, jokes about women and the day itself. Hypocrisy at its finest.
You can’t want to change and continue to help spread “humor” that deprecates that which you want to see justified.
And all the women, the celebrity women and philanthropists and bold and fearless women we gave shout outs’ to? Yes, this day is for them too but they are a small percentage.
This day is for all women, everyday women, doing the everyday things.
Like my sister-in-law who homeschools three kids, one of whom will grow to be a young woman herself, forging their education and helping them work out their faith and she’s got big dreams and boldness for Compassion. She keeps me sane and logical when my melancholy thoughts want to spiral.
And my friend who works her farm day in and day out, has taught me so much about healthy living, has raised her own kids and stepped back into the battlefield of motherhood all over again through adoption. Her hunger for fuller faith and wisdom drives you to do the same.
Or my sisters, both working mothers. Those blood ties bind us together and we work it out and learn and grow with each other. And my younger sister, just figuring out how to be an adult.
And another friend who is brave enough to take on teaching others’ kids, and another who faces challenges and hardships right beside her clients with severe mental illness, and yet another who has carried the burden of others she counsels for over twenty years. My cousin, who battles in the public school system for her students year after year.
Everyday women. And I call it battles because that is what women do- we go up to bat for our children, our husbands, our friends.
But do we go to war for each other or with each other?
Too many are up in arms, drawing lines in the sand over definitions and life decisions (to bottle or breastfeed debate, anyone?) instead of coming around to offer a hand, to help those who don’t get shout outs.
Because this day is also for all the women still ensnared in slavery. The girls that are simply remembered as a hashtag line, “Bringbackourgirls” and yet no one saved them. The homeless women, the abused women, the ones out there doing the battle of basic survival.
Do you think they care about your definition of feminism or motherhood?
Do you think they care about how you fed your kid when theirs was stripped away?
Do you think they care about the color of a dress?
They don’t want your definitions and your opinions. They want your action.
They want to know that somebody cares.
We missed the point here, missed the opportunity here to get real dialogue, real action going for women.
I’m blessed with the women in my life that have shaped me and encouraged me. I want to pass that on, to my daughters and others. To say, “You can be somebody, are somebody. You are woman, you are created in the image of God and you are loved!” We don’t have to wait for this day to roll around next year to try again to get it right.
It shouldn’t be polarizing. It’s not about celebrities or mothers or celebrity mothers. It’s a celebration of all women, of God’s design in who He created us to be, unique in our talents and abilities and perspective on life.
If we really want change, really want equality, really want justice?
Thank the women in your life. Encourage one another. And help the ones who don’t see their worth, that are not convinced being a woman is a blessing and not a curse. Value them. Speak life into them. Pray for the ones who give aid and rescue around the world. Celebrate all women doing all good things, whether hard or “normal” or publicized or in secret.
When we stop worrying about our own “injustices” and grievances and instead take action for those who cannot, that’s where the change comes. That’s where we see how much we have been blessed and how much more we can help our sisters all around this world. Because it is International Women’s Day and there are a lot of women across this world who don’t celebrate, can’t celebrate. So we celebrate them for them in the hopes of being light to them that they can one day too dance upon their sorrows. That being a woman is no longer being the punchline of a joke or a piece of property or second-class citizen. Those are the battles worth fighting, along with our daily ones in our own lives to change how we see what constitutes “woman.”
We were all born with a purpose and that is enough to make us all worth fighting for.
Every woman. Everywhere.