I’m late with this blog… busy day. But I am wearing red. That counts, right? Seriously, though, I want to add my thanks to all the women I know who love and support one another – and who love and support me. I am blessed by you. You’ve prayed with me, cried with me, laughed with me, danced and drank with me, taught, mentored and coached me; some of you may even “tolerate” me! And all the FB posts today got me thinking, “What if today wasn’t only about marching or wearing read or making posters? What if it was about compassion and kindness, and honoring all the women we know and those we don’t?” Don’t march. Don’t carry a sign. Don’t wear red…. This may surprise you, but I don’t really care. I didn’t ask you to, nor do I have any expectations that you do nor judgments if you don’t. I do, however, care enough about all my sisters in the world to ask if you would consider showing a little less contempt for those who do. If they are called to take a stand for those that can’t, why does that bother you?
You see I care that we women raise up one another and show compassion for each other (for all human beings, really). If you’re a woman blessed with a safe place to sleep every night, a job or career you love (or at least one that pays you enough to live), great kids or no kids if that’s your choice, the best husband or partner in the world, and parents or grandparents straight out of a TV show – be happy! Be proud! No doubt most of you have worked you’re a** off to get where you are. I have, too! I celebrate us! I’m so proud of you! However, is it possible for you to be a little kinder and, again, a little less contemptuous of the women in the world who are trying their damnedest to get there and just can’t seem to catch a break? Or the women who have been beaten down so much, they can’t rise up anymore and have lost hope? You could perhaps remember that there are women in the world who didn’t have the TV sitcom family, women who didn’t even get to finish elementary school, and they certainly didn’t have a mom and dad to run home to when “Mr. Right” turned out to be her worst nightmare. Every 7 seconds a woman is violently attacked by her male domestic partner and, in the U.S., it’s the woman who has to flee for her safety, often with her children (unlike Australia where they remove the batterer – imagine that!)
If you don’t care that getting a loan approved is about 15 to 20% lower for women-owned small businesses than they are for their male-owned counterparts, that’s totally fine! But if it matters to another woman who might want to start her own business, and she wants to march on behalf of herself, her daughters and future generations of women, could you at least not roll your eyes at her or give her a dirty look?
No one is forcing you to care that typically, women who work full time take home about 80 cents for every dollar a full-time male worker earns. Over a lifetime (47 years), the total estimated loss of earnings of women compared with men are $700,000 for a high school graduate, $1.2 million for a college graduate, and $2 million for a professional school graduate. But if other women care enough to march because they want to change that, maybe you could just say, “Thank you,” instead of criticizing them.
I could go on and talk about access to higher paying jobs and the glass ceiling, the disparity between female stars and their male counterparts in Hollywood, university tenure, access to health care, or how rape victims are treated in the legal system; and don’t even get me started on the military (check out this week’s Marine headlines!) But I didn’t start writing this because I wanted to embark on a litany of what I hope will change for my granddaughter(s) and yours. I simply want to invite all the women I know to remember that spiritual place inside you – that place that houses the nurturing, mothering energy – and ask that you consider giving that energy to other women, even the ones you don’t know; in fact, especially the ones you don’t know. It costs you nothing to be kind and when your contempt is turned into compassion, you can make such a difference in another woman’s life, and in the world.
God bless you! And Happy International Women’s Day!