Wednesday, March 8th is International Women’s Day and the theme for 2017 is Be Bold for Change. My almost 14-year-old daughter Ava spent time this weekend creating a poster for her school for this important day. The slogan she came up with? I’d rather shatter a glass ceiling than fit into a glass slipper.
BOOM. I’m so proud to be her mother. Frankly, I’m pissed right off that we are still talking about how women should be paid the same as men and receive the same basic human rights as men. We are 17 years into a new millennium, and yet as a world we continue to struggle when it comes to equality, inclusivity and justice for those who did not happen to be born as white men.
This year, I plan to be bold. And when my courage falters, I will look to Ava and her friends, for they will carry this torch on far beyond me. They will not accept the double standard that I’ve seen far too often. They will speak up and be bold and call out the hypocrisy they witness. I’m convinced they will finally get us a fairer world.
Women have issued a challenge on Wednesday to go on strike, in an effort to prove that a Day Without a Woman has a huge impact. I’m all for this concept. I hope it works. As a continuation of the global outcry after the U.S. inauguration that resulted in enormous women’s marches in cities all around the world, I’d love to see this strike concept fly.
But I also know that real, lasting change comes slowly and it starts in individual hearts. Rob Bell recently spoke about the need for a counter narrative to unite those marching and protesting. This message struck a resonant chord for me. What is our counter narrative?
It has to centre on love and peace, the way the women’s march did. But it also needs a bit of fire and boldness to it, like this strike is calling for. I’m grateful that smarter people than me are involved in these matters. Something is crying out in my heart and I don’t yet know exactly what it is.
When I watched Ava hunched over her poster in her bedroom, I felt like weeping. From pride but also an intense grief, that this world is such a damn broken mess for her. I yearn for beauty, kindness, understanding, intelligent discourse, friendship and acceptance. And yet what we are mired in this year is anger, misogyny, racism, cruelty, ignorance and bitter division. I want to believe we are better than this.
Let it begin with me. All change comes from this place. We do not see the world as it is, we see it how we are. So I must be love, peace, gender equality, authenticity and warmth. I must choose hope in spite of my fear and sadness. I must seek out light, for a few brave candles can light up the darkest night. Now is the time to believe that goodness will prevail, especially when we see little evidence of it.
This Wednesday, let’s reach out to one another and say, “I see you and I support you.” Let’s be generous with our kind words and our smiles. Let’s be bold for change and shatter glass ceilings instead of slippers. Let’s do it together, for as a group we are more powerful and effective. Let’s build our counter narrative. We were born for such a time as this.