Every year International Women’s Day has a special place in my heart, we celebrate the accomplishments of women and how far we have come in terms of gender equality. Yes I am an optimist, I like to look at how much change has happened, but I also constantly reflect on the amount of work we still have to do to go even further.
This year, I wanted to do something I’ve never done before, share my thoughts over the years into a letter, dedicated to each and every one of you.
Dear mom, thank you for showing me with your actions how you manage to run your own business and have time for your family, and why it is important for a woman to have her own career. You’re the best role model I could ever ask for.
Dear dad, thank you for constantly reminding and teaching me from a young age that I should create my own path and not have to rely on anyone. Thank you for your reminder jokes before I went out on a date to “make sure to pay for your half of the bill!”
Dear rest of my family, thank you for reassuring me that I am capable of achieving whatever I set my mind to, and for never telling me how I should act based on my gender. To my aunts and cousins, whether you are working or looking after the home, you do so much and it is evident that either decision requires a lot of time and patience.
Dear my female friends, I am so lucky to have you all in my life. Each of you is so inspiring and ambitious, and we trust each other enough to be vulnerable at times without judgement. You have all taught me so much. Thank you.
Dear my male friends, thank you for respecting and taking a genuine interest in my passions and initiatives to support women, and truly valuing when I do accomplish something, but also telling me the honest truth when I’ve made a mistake.
Dear previous, current, and future colleagues, there will always be someone/some people that have their own views on the abilities of women, but I am thankful for past and current friendships with my colleagues that have always supported each other and urged me to keep doing what I love. Future colleagues, I have full confidence that we will have the same supportive network.
Dear future partner, no matter how confident I am that I will be able to manage work-family balance, even before we met, there has been moments where I’m afraid of the day when I have to choose between career advancement/commitments or family/having a child. This feeling will never go away.
Dear my future child/children, I hope that when you’re born, there will be more change in gender equality and I will be able to share stories with you of how far we have come. There will be times when it seems like I am not 100% mentally or physically present because of my career, but do know that I will be there for you, always.
Dear all the women out there, I am sorry for the times when I couldn’t support you better. I am sorry for the times when I would have a conversation with someone that made sexist remarks, or perpetuating rape culture, and I didn’t make stronger attempts to call them out on it. I am sorry.
Dear everyone out there, remember, feminism is not to put down any gender, but to empower and move towards equality for everyone. We need you to be apart of these steps towards change too! 🙂