This month we celebrate International Women’s Day. To me this is like having one day dedicated to gratitude (Thanksgiving) or selfless service and love (Christmas), when these sentiments should be the first thing we focus on when we wake up every day. I find it somewhat disingenuous for men and women around the world to declare one day to honor women because that should happen naturally every day. But at least it’s a start.
How can everyone continue to celebrate and honor women? I’d start by thanking women for all that they are and share, all they have endured and overcome, and for all that they continue to contribute. If you’re reading this, chances are a woman played a role in teaching you how to read. Unfortunately, women’s role in society, our survival and our well-being is often overlooked. That needs to stop in order for us to not only survive, but also thrive, as a race. Thankfully, life moves in cycles and the divine feminine is rising again, to balance what has been centuries of male dominance, and lead us into a kinder, gentler world.
I admire women. They think differently, focus differently, and cherish different things than men. Knowing that there are exceptions to every rule, my experience tells me that men focus on being the hunter-gatherer, while women focus on being the nest maker. Men focus on status, women on inner wellbeing, and the wellbeing of the family. Men are more action oriented, and ‘doing’; women are more focused on ‘being’, a trait men and humanity at large is still learning to master. Men usually depend on women for their emotional health, their emotional stability and their emotional needs, as women have a way of understanding men as men never will. Where would we be without our mother’s, lovers, sisters, daughters and female friends … our emotional rocks? Women deserve more than a pat on the back for taking on that role. Of course men are also nurturers and caretakers. But they have not had to suffer the restrictions, stereotypes and abuse that men have heaped upon women for centuries.
While males held a firm grip on the majority of what goes on around the world, females often are in the background as inspiration or motivation. World leaders like Margaret Thatcher and Indira Ghandi led their nations during times of violence and change with a masculine firmness. My experience with female leaders is that they can be just as hard and aggressive as males. They had to be, as they were forging new ground in what was then a man’s world.
Women are owed a special tribute every day for the stereotypical multitasking they are expected to perform, even as men start to take on more feminine roles in the home. Women have always been the unspoken muses, the sometimes acknowledged but untitled inspiration for their male counterparts. Women take on the roles of mother, chef, maid, chauffeur, and/or decision makers in their families, all the while often working full-time and pursuing their careers. Star multi-takers, women keep multiple balls in the air, usually without juggling lessons. They are the first being almost every newborn baby experiences in their life. Women are the first God that we meet, and most of our psyches are formed based on the efforts of a woman.
Men need forgiveness for their era of greed and fear of women, as men are responsible for glass ceilings in the workplace and wage inequalities in many industries-a gross injustice. But more than that, men need more positive examples. Become a champion of women—Help smash those ceilings, become a mentor and sing their praises. Thankfully, women have persevered, and are now leading Fortune 500 companies and nations.
On behalf of men everywhere, I as a man want to personally thank all of the women who have taught us so much, help us through hard times and help us to understand women better. I thank you. I celebrate you, and I honor you for all you have endured and overcome. And I encourage you to continue what I consider to be a shared responsibility amongst men and women: to uplift, celebrate and honor women. Women often gently hold their space, offering men an opportunity to view the world in a different, non-male way, and inspire us to be better people. There are many things more important than what my manly up bringing gave me: love, forgiveness, empathy, compassion, community and generosity— largely feminine traits. There is a reason we call our home, “Mother Earth”. We, as men, need to wake up and make women our equals. We must continue to partner with them and join hands and voices – in celebration of women everywhere! God bless you all.