In case you slept in this morning, let me be the first to share the news: Happy International Women’s Day!
If you are like me, then you must be wondering why we need a day to celebrate women. I gave this some serious thought.
I realize it was only 100 years ago that women (in western cultures) were not considered people under the law.
I realize that in my lifetime women’s professions went from housewife, nurse, teacher – to anything you want to be – ANYTHING.
I realize that equal pay for equal work is still not happening in many parts of North America – not to mention my city.
I realize that many women are still expected (and do) the bulk of the home stuff, cook, clean, raise kids, make the decisions, work full time and in many cases go to school as well. Although this is mostly a generational thing. It takes a long time to change attitudes.
I realize that many women have been prosecuted for their beliefs and strive hard for the opportunity to have what I take for granted.
I realize that women in other countries are still oppressed and do not get the choice of free will because they are still considered property.
I realized all of this last night when my 15 year old daughter came down to my office to talk to me about her days events. She has been visiting different schools around the city trying to make the right choice for her. I am the one who told her to look at the schools with an open mind and evaluate them on a set of criteria that she has created in her mind.
Now that she has visited the short-listed schools, last night was the time to decide.
Her list of must have for a school were the following:
- Excellent Music Program
- Great-excellent Drama Program
- Opportunities to try new things
- AP Math
- AP English
- An atmosphere where you feel welcome and a part of something bigger that can actually make a difference.
The first school she visited during the week actually offended her. She was angry by the time we had left. There were no welcoming gestures from staff or students and she had a sense that she would be alone yet working along side people rather than in a team atmosphere.
The second school had a great drama department and was welcoming but it didn’t feel to her there were the well rounded opportunities she was hoping for. She talked extensively to teachers and other students and thought – maybe. The location was great and many of her friends had decided this was the place for them, but she wasn’t sold.
After last night’s visit to the last school on the list, she sat down at my desk and looked at me like she was very concerned. I asked her to tell me her thoughts. Her first concern was finding the time to do all the things she wanted to at this school. She was quite sure she couldn’t be on the Cheer Squad AND drama and music. There was no time for guitar class if she was taking photography. The opportunity for learning (yet another instrument – she plays keyboard, guitar, percussion and ukulele) was available if she took Jazz Band. She expressed the desire to play the upright Base. That was 3 separate music classes plus all the other classes she wanted to take. Not to mention the AP courses for core classes. Then there was the different sciences she is interest in like forensic, bio and chem. SHe loved the way the students told her the school wasn’t full of cliques and everyone intermingled and was supportive of each other.
I looked at her and thought she has decided which school she is going to. Then I thought about her grandma’s options and realized this is why we celebrate International Woman’s day.
The achievements from past women are significant – not because of lack of intelligence, but because of opportunity. It does not occur to my daughter that she is not capable of doing any of these activities. It does not occur to her that she wouldn’t be permitted on the basis of gender. She becomes indignant when she hears no on the basis that she is a girl and will argue with intelligent information to make her point. She does realize time is a factor and the ability to keep her marks up are important to HER. Her plans for the future are huge and she doesn’t want to limit her options.
She has OPTIONS. She has more options than I had. More importantly, she has more options than I was aware of.
I’d like to take a moment to thank all the women of the past who forged a path so significant, they changed my daughters world. I am eternally grateful and I can only imagine the good things ahead for future generations.