Challenge Accepted

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Cheers to the women in leadership, the women who are working at home. The women who are being their true selves. But also, here’s to the women who need help, support and care to make their world a better place. Because a better world for women, is a better world for everyone.

When I was growing up, there were only a few odd times where I felt that the gender I identified with was getting in the way of life. Once, all of my male cousins were given remote control trucks and I was given a set of books. Another time, I wasn’t allowed to join a ski-team because it was all boys (this decision was overturned when I demonstrated my ability). When I entered into secondary school; all of the neutrality and equity flew right out the window. I wasn’t as smart as the boys, I wasn’t as athletic. I couldn’t be assertive, that was interpreted as “bossy”. If I spoke up in class, I was seen as “chatty” instead of a leader. I had to monitor the way I dressed. If something was upsetting, and it made me cry; well then I was over-emotional.

To my great disappointment, things just got worse as I got older. I choose to enter into a Bachelor of Business program for my undergrad, and the number of “boys’ club” attitudes that I was met with was incredible. My whole university career; I felt that it was a constant battle of proving myself to be equal to my male counterparts. Not better, but equal. Getting jobs, internships, positions on student government–there were times where I was frustrated that I was passed over in favour of a male classmate, despite being just as qualified.

I wish that things were different in the world. Are things better than 40 years ago? Absolutely. It isn’t perfect though. But here’s the deal: the more we push forward, the better things get for generations to come.

25 years ago, I was told that girls don’t have short hair and can’t play trumpet as well as boys. 20 years ago, I was told girls shouldn’t play rugby, and take Physics 11. 16 years ago, I was told that girls with long hair don’t belong in finance classes, that it didn’t look professional. 12 years ago, I was told that girls don’t know anything about computers. 5 years ago, I was told that I should concentrate on being a mom and not try to “get ahead of myself.”

Are things getting better? Yes. They are. Women and girls live in a better world in 2021 compared to 2001, 1991, 1981. But do they live in a world they they are treated equally? Not yet.

Sometimes, I hear the jab about “when is “international men’s day” going to be? Well, you know what? International Women’s Day isn’t about women being better than men. It is about being treated like fellow, and equal human beings with value, with intelligence. It is about not being judged on the relationship of what we wear, how long our hair is, our emotions and our attitudes in relation to our gender. International Women’s Day has an incredible theme this year: #choosetochallenge. So, whatever gender you identify with, I challenge you to make the world a better place for everyone who is disenfranchised. But today, it’s about women. So do what you can to make the world a better place for us.

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