A year ago, I conducted a survey with my seventh grade female students, asking them to raise their hands if they recognized the names of four young women from pop culture: Emma Watson (actress/activist), Kylie and Kendall Jenner (models and who-knows-what-else), and Malala Yousafzai (Pakistani activist). Click here to discover the results of the survey, but its purpose was to point out that women fail to acknowledge the success of members of our own gender. Even with all of the movements drawing attention to women's issues, we are still failing each other by not recognizing ourselves for more than mere physical appearance. Honestly, many of today's women's movements are causing more destruction than progress in the issues surrounding women's rights.
So, how do we #PressforProgress (this year's theme, according to the International Women’s Day website)? The solution is far from simple because any progress requires a change of mind, and changing the mindset of a majority presents an enormous challenge. However, I know how this change begins - with three straightforward strategies.
1. Respect each other.
We don't have to like each other to show each other respect.
2. Support and celebrate each other.
We need to lose the competitiveness that prevents us from celebrating each other's accomplishments. We need to strive to do our best, but realize there will always be someone better . . . and be happy for that person.
3. Recognize each other.
We need to share with the women in our personal lives how they influence us, and recognize women we may not know personally for their accomplishments.
These strategies don't just apply to women. If we follow them daily, the world will be a much better place for women and men, girls and boys, cats and dogs, birds and bees . . . everything that has breath!
On this International Women's Day, I encourage you to to respect, support, celebrate, and recognize each other. And enjoy this video about the new Barbies Mattel plans to release!