International Women's Day falls on Monday, March 8th, 2010.
International Women's Day week (March 7th-13th) starts today and the week long series of events, remembrances and re-newed commitments to bettering the lives of girls and women the world over, will begin.
What does it mean to to be a woman in Canada today? It means that we have the opportunity to earn a living that enables us to be self-supportive and therefore not depend on a husband or partner. This enables us to be in relationships of our choice because we choose to be, not because we have to be.
It means that we were brought up to believe that we could be anything we wanted to be.
I chose science and then real estate, because my Father believed that women were just as intelligent and had just as many abilities to progress in life as men.
We live in a free society where, although there are still many injustices committed against women daily behind closed doors, we now have the ability and the ways and means to make our choices for ourselves and our children, particularly when we find we are living in a situation that is destructive to our spirit(s) or worse.
It means that support systems have been put in place and laws have been formulated to help women to live more peaceful and empowered lives.
The United Nations General Assembly asked all of it's members to proclaim a day for the rights of women and international peace in 1977. Canada chose March 8th and in each subsequent year, on this date, has celebrated the inroads that society has made to further empower women and has brought to light areas where still more needs to be done.
Throughout communities across Canada this week, events will take place to honour and recognize women as people, as humans with rights who are deserving of dignity and respect and as valuable members of society.
In Canada, this years theme for International Women's Week is 'Strong Women, Strong Canada, Strong World" and in my heart I know this to be true.
I come from a long line of strong women. Women who stood up for themselves as best they could in a world that was not always conducive to independent and strong women.
I'm proud of my Mother and Stepmother and Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers and all they have accomplished as women during difficult times.
- They have paved a road for me that has given me far more choices than they ever had.
- They have taught me to value dignity and being respected for who I am.
- They have taught me that a woman can be kind and gentle and loving and at the same time stand up for what is right in the face of adversity.
- They have taught me that a woman and all people are deserving of respect and to be treated with kindness and tolerance and compassion.
- They have taught me to value my gifts and to do my best for the children and the elderly and for those who are less strong or perhaps cannot see the way.
It is because of them that I am able to be who I am today.
With International Women's Week upon us, I ask you to all take time to consider the lives of the women who came before you, what they did for you and what you have learned from them.
Take time to thank them in silent prayer, for those who are no longer here, and in person for those who still are.
Let them know that their strength has made you stronger, that the way they led their lives was an example to you in being the best person you could be for yourself and your family and those who you come into contact with.
Take time to consider how society is raising young girls today and whether or not we are teaching them to be strong and have high self-esteem.
- Are we teaching them about relationships and what is right and what is not right?
- Are we guiding them to see things that may be bad signs in relationships so that they may learn while they are young and not lead the same difficult paths of so many women who have gone before them?
- Are we empowering them with skills and knowledge and encouragement to be all that they wish to be and teaching them that they have this power within their very being?
- Are we setting a good example by choosing to be in healthy relationships, ourselves? Relationships where we are respected, cherished and adored?
- Do we speak up when we see wrong doing taking place and do we step in to help a woman or child in need?
Our actions today will affect the lives of all of those women and men who will come after us well into the future. Someday our own grandchildren may be looking back and thanking us for how we lived our lives today, the choices that we made and how we taught them what is right and what is wrong in the society of man.
To celebrate and honour the women in your life this week:
bring them flowers, take them for dinner, give them a hug and a note telling them how you honour who they are and what they have done for you, thank them with a smile and a word of appreciation, attend an International Women's Week/Day event or silently acknowledge the women who have made a difference in your life with a quiet thought or prayer.
Jo-Anne Smith, the author of this article, is a REALTOR® with Brekland Realty Group, Oakville, Ontario and welcomes your real estate inquiries. To contact her, visit www.oakville-burlingtonhomes.com