Reading about International Women’s Day today, what has struck me is that there seems to be two main themes.
One of those themes is to talk about what International Women’s Day means. Interestingly, when I look through the blogs, there is a recurrence of a theme that the day is now (overly) commercialised and that this is personified this year by Ariana Grande’s collaboration with Starbucks to produce the “Iced Cloud Macchiatos”. According to Business Insider, “Starbucks also plans to debut a playlist featuring Grande’s songs and some of her favorite music on Saturday, as well as a playlist for International Women’s Day on Friday.”
The New York Times ran a whole article about the stuff people can buy to celebrate, from dolls of famous female inspiration to make-up in the colours of the day.
These are ideas that success is money and, although I’m male and therefore not best placed to talk about women’s issues which I can supposedly never experience, I’m not sure I’m happy with that and I’m not sure that many women will be either. (I understand that in the context of the gender pay gap, success will calculated monetarily.) For me, success as a person has never been measured by how much money one earns but by how they influence others.
To that end, the second main theme of the articles online talk about the inspirational women in one’s lives, and that got me thinking about those in mine. I don’t want to belittle the obvious in my mother, who is awesome, but there were a number of women from over the years who inspired me simply by being.
If I’m asked to name inspirational people in my life regardless of gender, and excluding family, I can think of men that taught me work skills, but I think of women who taught me what real life is. There are men who taught me how to project manage and who I learnt lessons from in that arena, but I think of women who taught me how to be happy and to make others happy, and I know what I consider to be the most important skill.
I have a lyric etched in to my skin that reads, “here, you can be anything.” It is a song lyric written by a man, but in the handwriting of a woman who made it real for any number of reasons.
I guess that that’s been my overriding thought about International Women’s Day. They say that no publicity is bad publicity so, while some think the commercialisation detracts from the day and is taking advantage, it is raising awareness. But I also get why people are saying that women should be celebrated everyday. For me, we can take inspiration and influence from anywhere and that doesn’t have to be women as CEOs.
What’s left of today, say thank you to the women are an inspiration to you by being the women who teach you anything, and do your best to make sure that you’re a person who does the same for them.