Today is International Women's Day. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, with some even making it a national holiday akin to a combination of Valentine's Day + Mother's Day. I know some people who consider it to be just a feminist's movement, the reality is we live in a world where women are still paid less than men for the same jobs, where there are fewer women than men in business and politics, where violence against women remains atrociously high, and where women's education and health is poorer than that of men. So, feminist or not, I want today to be an opportunity to appreciate the women who surround us and make our world a better place.
I am beyond fortunate to have many strong, smart, savvy women in my circle of friends and acquaintances. To start, in my home I have my mom, my sister, my grandmother. And of course my mother and sisters-in-laws. Love them all. Then, in my career I've been fortunate to be guided and mentored by some of the strongest women in business. In particular, in my previous employer, I had an amazing female leader to follow. She was intelligent, determined, focused, driven, and kind. She could hold her own and then some in any room, be it filled with politicians, students, or journalists with microphones. I am proud to say we became friends through work and remain that way since I've left. I also recognize my good fortune to continue to work with smart, strong female leaders. My current boss, as well as several of my female colleagues, are without a doubt the reason I am looking forward to returning to work this spring. Seriously some of the smartest women in our province's business community.
Then there are the multitude of female friends I am blessed to know. I have friends who own their own companies, are independent consultants, are VPs and senior leaders within their workplaces, and are stay-at-home moms by choice. I have friends who have lost almost 90 pounds while raising babies, have become fitness figure competitors, and have run more marathons than I'd dare to consider. I have friends who have survived cancer, have survived deaths of loved ones unimaginable to most, and who have stood strong in their sexuality. I have friends who have fundraised thousands for charity, are pursuing and who have obtained their Masters, and who have moved for love and nothing more.
In my world, despite the challenges women still fight to overcome globally, I am blessed with examples upon examples of amazing women. Each and every one of them have influenced the woman I am today.
Happy International Women's Day!