The bonds of women can be empowering at any age.
Only in my early 20s did I learn the global importance of International Women’s Day with streets full of women around the world coming together in solidarity. This day is about empowerment and equal rights.
The 2012 theme is “connecting girls, inspiring futures,” which has gotten me thinking about all of the inspiring connections that surround us every day. In my everyday I come into contact with female colleagues and friends, all that are passionate about what they do. They are writers, filmmakers, doctors, lawyers, humanitarians and vagabonds, and every single thing in between.
What does it mean to be a woman? A lot of things.
I think about my mother and her friends, the generation ahead of me. My mother once reminded me how special my group of female friends was. “I didn’t get an empowered, strong group of female friends like that until later in life. Appreciate it.”
It’s true. It’s important to take time to appreciate the special bond that women have. It’s what solidifies friendships. It’s what brings you into the embrace of a circle of women on the other side of the world even when you don’t speak their language. It’s the overwhelming sadness that you feel when you hear stories of rape, genital mutilation and slavery. It’s what inspires you to teach, to give and to love, not only the women you are closest with, but the ones you have never met.
Some strong women in my circles have given me some good perspective lately, and in honor of them and their constant support, here are 10 thoughts for International Women’s Day about what it means to be a woman and what it takes to build a movement, to be stronger and to continue pushing boundaries.
- No matter where we are, we are a community. Embrace it, take part in it and honor it.
- We must make time to thank the mothers, aunts, grandmothers and neighbors that raised us to be independent and loud-mouthed. We rarely turn down a fight.
- Live. It doesn’t make a difference where you are and who you are with, find the space to keep breathing and celebrating the ordinary.
- We are free and do have the power of choice. Keeping that power is our right.
- We all have a passion. The most powerful thing you can do is find it and encourage others to do the same.
- Appreciate what you have. If you have your health and your spirit, make sure you act so that others can do the same.
- Never take each other for granted. We are all fragile beings, treat one another with respect and compassion. Always.
- Learn balance. We all need time to breathe, and sometimes we need to make compromises to ensure that we continue doing so. This is necessary.
- You are enough. You can always push yourself to be better and do more, but remember that who you are right now is what counts.
- Your global community needs you. Your voice, your written word, your physical being; it’s all valuable. Use it wisely.
Image: Anna Brones