Every year I am so excited for International Women’s Day as it can be such a fun way to celebrate women, their achievements, and all the positivity from one big community. The first time I even heard of the holiday was when I was on a school trip to Paris. I thought it was so cool seeing people make such a big deal over a holiday that would likely just be an excuse to post on Instagram in the States. Any shop had events planned for the day and complete strangers were handing out flowers on the street. I hope we can experience that same energy everywhere.
This day has so many purposes, mostly purposes to uplift those women who have been marginalized in their societies, but today I want to discuss one element to this positive moment that is unfortunately necessary. I often hear encouraging words like “empowered women empower women” or the “lift each other up” type messages on days like today, and I find it sad that we live in a world where (1) we have to devote a holiday to women to make up for their mistreatment and (2) women have to be reminded to support each other rather than tear each other down.
I am absolutely all for supporting other women and lifting up my peers especially those in my industry. My goal is to emphasize how the necessity of the “encouraging reminders” are indicators of a much larger problem, and ultimately I hope to correct that problem.
Why are we preaching so much about supporting each other (both as women and in general)? Because we struggle so much with jealousy, comparison, and believing that there is only so much room in our world for successful women.
Many of these issues stem from a patriarchal society that teaches women to be lesser than, and there is plenty of work to be done regarding sexism. One thing we can do right now is stop perpetuating these issues by attacking our own community. We are so focused on empowering women but why do we still tear them down with gossip and comparison as if there is only so much room for women in power?
Here is an example for you: when you see a women achieving her career goals or having nice things you wish you had, do you try and make her seem smaller so you feel better about yourself? Or do you lift her up so she can keep going? Are you a part of the problem or do you fight the negativity with kindness?
I encourage you today to choose kindness and compassion rather than jealousy and comparison. Because if we cannot empower ourselves then who will?