Today is International Women’s Day.
I know this because my friend Sarah at That Space In Between has asked me to contribute a post for a link up. I don’t normally do opinion pieces, but hey…
Today’s a day for celebrating amazing women everywhere. And let’s face it, each of us are amazing in our own everyday way.
It’s a day where we acknowledge the efforts of women over the years, women who fought to get us the vote, who fought for our rights, who fought for an ideal of equality.
Women whose efforts allowed people like me to have the opportunities that I’ve had- the access to education, the opportunity to achieve, the opportunity to take a career break to have children, the opportunity to change careers.
Women whose efforts have enabled me to say to my daughter “you can do anything that you want to do.”
I’ve been fortunate. I’ve always received the same pay as the male colleagues doing the same job as me. I’ve never been overlooked for a promotion on the basis of my sex.
I’ve had the opportunity to take a break from my career to have a child, secure in the knowledge that my job will be waiting when I return.
I had access to good childcare and I had extremely understanding (male) bosses who allowed me flexibility to work from home or take time away when I needed to.
When I was 18, I was welcomed into the ranks of North Sydney Referees Association when no other woman had previously attempted to join. When I was 27, I was promoted to a bank manager role in a region who hadn’t seen a female appointed before, let alone anyone below the age of 35. Again, I was welcomed.
I have also seen “positive” discrimination at work.
I’ve been promoted, a few times, over men who were as capable, and definitely more experienced than me simply to meet a pre-determined quota. I’ve seen what that does to employee engagement- for both sexes.
I’ve seen other women wilfully damage a woman’s career more successfully than any glass ceiling ever could.
As I said, I’ve been fortunate. I know others have not been. I know there are still pay inequalities, glass ceilings and issues around maternity leave and child care. I know we have a long way to go and I’m not entirely sure that we can either have it all or what it all is and if I want it anyway.
What I do know is that the issues that are of deepest concern to me here and now are not just women’s issues- they apply to both sexes.
I imagine a day where we don’t need to talk about equality, where all of our children have access to education, clean water, housing, health facilities and loving families.
I imagine a day where we don’t need to talk about who we can love, how we choose to love. Where we just love.
I imagine a day where women are not told what we can and can’t do with our bodies, and a day where we don’t have to talk about keeping ourselves safe from violence, from abuse, from exploitation- often from those who we trust.
I also imagine a day where all employees are entitled to a career break, equal pay for equal work and merit based promotion- regardless of sex.
In the meantime, I’m grateful for those who’ve gone before…