Thursday, March 08, 2018

International Women's Day

So, another year and another International Women's Day. It's not surprising to me anymore when I encounter my coworkers who have no idea what this day is. (It never happened in Sweden, everyone knew about it.) However, there is a feeling in some of my female coworkers and friends this year that I am excited about. It's a feeling that maybe, maybe 2018 will be the year when some more ceilings get shattered, when some more borders will be broken and the goalposts be moved into another area.

It's partly based on the fact that the new generation, the ones who are about to graduate high school are giving people a "the emperor has no clothes on him" moment every so often. They don't understand why there would be a difference between people. Sure, they have grown up with old Disney and lots of hyper sexualized pictures and comics - but they have also grown up in a world where someone can have one mom, or two moms, or two dads or even living with your single dad... not to forget Mulan, Frozen and last year Wonder Woman. If you haven't seen the New Wonder Woman movie - I implore you, go see it. I wasn't interested and such didn't watch it in the movies. I did see it on a plane during a holiday though. And I ended up watching it twice. The battle scene. And the boat scene. And the training with amazons scenes. And ... well, a lot of scenes actually.

And I cried. I know it might sound silly but there is something that moves inside you fundamentally when watching a movie and realizing that it connects to you, and that you don't have to look at the one or two women roles and listen to them talk about their boy friends. Or for that matter, not even have a woman in the movie and you accept it and feel like the main male character. That you watch a movie about a woman who just does what needs to be done, and doesn't care about what "she's supposed to do".

I've shifted a little last year. I conscientiously decided to not watch TVseries that "investigates the crime of a dead girl" or similar. I've been a huge thriller watcher and avid reader of "all the books" but have slowly but surely moved away from these "generic crime books/TV series". Why? Because I think, the same way as I think watching my Facebook feed everyday, connects with my brain and gives me micronegative feelings that aren't helpful for me. I've tried to find uplifting and motivational movies and TVSeries. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to "self help books" but rather stuff that have either strong female leads, or altered realities where things are slightly different than our present day. I read books by women, about women and with women in them that have overcome obstacles and even those who haven't. Just to feel a little more like "this is it".

I digress, as usual.

My hope for 2018 is similar as every year, and I feel that there might be an opportunity here to actually continue to make change, to move towards a more equal society where women aren't generalized into a stereotype automatically (whore/madonna, mother/barren, girl/crone)...

How I intend to do this? Network, be supportive and give money to the right places that can help. I've expanded my network at work and in my field, where we are a few women in similar ages/peers who give each other support and strategy ideas on how to overcome obstacles and to place ourselves in various positions to move ahead. I'm a mentor, both formally and informally, to a couple of younger women who pick my brain about things every so often. I also connect them with others so they can expand their network. And I give money to political campaigns and Choice organizations, mostly locally here where I live. Side bar; If you live in the USA, now's the time to start looking for all those political races for the midterm election coming up. Take a look at your local elections and the issues the candidates are running on and look how you can contribute. If not with money, maybe with time and energy to the various causes.

And finally, last but not least, something that is near and dear to my heart: Doctors Without Borders and Kiva. Two organizations that change the world and try so hard to make it a better place for children, women and men all over the earth. Kiva will match your contributions to women if you make them today March 8th!

You can find practical tips and links to my old posts here