Today is International Women’s Day and I have something to say to myself, the 13-year-old me and other young people who are feeling lost at this time.
Dear young people,
I know life seems hard but I can guarantee that things will get better. You just need to have a little faith and a lot of confidence in yourself. Right now the world seems like a scary place to you where you struggle to stand up for yourself but soon you will be travelling alone and standing up for the rights of other people. The journey will be hard but along the way, you will meet some amazing women who will inspire you in ways you could have never imagined and get you to follow your unrealised dreams.
I want to say to you that the world will be an equal place where you won’t have to fight a battle to not be a stay at home mum, or that you will be paid the same wage as a man doing the same job, or you won’t have to battle with sexism in the workplace and that catcalling on the streets will not be a thing. But I can’t say that because even in 2017 these things exist, women continue to feel unsafe and scared.
But I can promise that more and more women are understanding their rights and fighting against this inequality. Just promise me you will be one of those women who will be part of that movement. Remember that the world can not define you. You have to live by your own standards and achieve your own dreams no matter how different or unexpected they are. Do what you want to do. You want to travel alone? do it! You want to start your own company and be a boss? do it! You don’t want to have children? Then don’t! Don’t do anything you don’t want to do… The world, society and the rules will force you into things but remember there are millions of women marching for you and fighting for your rights so make them proud and do your thing.
This message is also for the young boys, I am sorry that society constantly forces you to be strong when all you want to do is to be able to be yourself. I am sorry it is frowned upon when you cry or do anything that is seen as ‘feminine’. I just want to let you know that you have the freedom to be you too. Don’t let anybody tell you anything different.
We are in the 21st Century and I hope that by the time your generation becomes 21. We won’t be fighting the same battles we have been fighting since the start of time. But for that, you will need to stand up for yourself and for the other oppressed people in the world. It is time for you to take charge.
I will leave you with this quote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. It’s not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own lights shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
Happy International Women’s Day! Let your light shine bright.