International Women's Day: The Good and The Do Better
To be honest, I've been struggling with what to post about #internationalwomensday today. I've been thinking about it throughout the day... I've considered speaking to empowerment, history, encouragement, and reality... Nothing really fit the bill, so I settled for a quote. While the quote resonates, I still am struggling and here's why:
Every awareness day/week/month is born from a need to call attention and action to a particular problem or issue and/or to celebrate achievements in that area. This is no different.
As a mental health counselor, I have the privilege of sitting with, supporting, and helping people heal from major life difficulties. The vast majority of my clients are women.
In my 10 years in this field, nearly every woman client I've ever worked with has, in some way, experienced or been affected by sexual harassment or sexual assault, abuse, gender inequalities, microaggressions, and more regardless of their personally identifiable differences.
Their stories are different yet the same.
Their experiences are different yet still they pay the price of having to undo what's been done to them; having to break down messages and beliefs that were created to hold them back; having to learn how to move forward and not let what's happened to them define their story; having to continually navigate being a woman in today's world.
Women struggle, and yet still they rise.
Not only do I know this as a counselor, but also because #metoo . As a fellow woman, I have experienced these things personally; and nearly every woman I personally know has also had these experiences.
Men: Listen to understand. Back the women in your life. Amplify their voices. Educate other males.
Assertiveness is not bitchiness or an instigation of a fight.
Achievements are not because of luck.
Promotions are not because of sleeping with the boss or some need to fill gender quotas.
She didn't ask for it because of what she was wearing or because she was flirting.