When somebody asks you “what does it mean to be a strong woman?”, what is your response?
Do you think of the single mum, packing 4 kids in the car while they argue and fight amongst each other about having to wear a face mask at the shops? Do you think about the middle-aged woman hitting a personal best in her deadlift at your gym? Do you think about the motivated self-starter who built her own business from the ground up? Or do you think about your close friend and/or colleague with a common mental health problem who is just trying to make it through to Friday?
To be real with you, whenever someone tells me that I am ‘strong’ and ‘tough’, it really makes me step back and wonder what it is that makes me appear that way. I think of all the amazing women in the world standing up for women’s rights, demanding a change for equality, empowering women all over the world to take charge of their futures and actively fighting to protect other women from the very real threats of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and gender inequality that still exists in various parts of our world. So, in my mind, how could I possibly measure up to that?
What if I told you that you are not strong BECAUSE you are a woman, but that because you are a woman, YOU ARE STRONG. So often, we look for explanations where there are none, reasons to justify why we are strong, tough, resilient, determined, focused and successful as women. GUESS WHAT?! To the women reading this, who pushed through COVID-19, worked remotely, lost their jobs, grew a small human inside their bodies, or had to overhaul their lives altogether, YOU ARE ENOUGH and YOU ARE STRONG.
This Monday 8th March 2021, we celebrate International Women’s Day, the theme for which is #ChoosetoChallenge celebrating the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlighting the gaps that remain. For those that are not aware, some of the most efficient and excellent responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were led by women. YES GIRL! And women, especially young women, are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice, climate change and equality in all parts of the world.
Women are natural born leaders; our minds and bodies alone are capable of such mind-blowing things. To all our Grandmothers, Mothers, Aunts, Cousins, Sisters, Visionaries, Professionals and Future Leaders, let us celebrate each other, lift each other up, promote an equal future and remind ourselves exactly what we are capable of and deserve in this big wide world. So, this International Women’s Day, who will you #ChoosetoChallenge?
By Emma Meldrum