Each day I am in awe of the women that I work with, the women we create for, and the woman the I am becoming myself. There have been many days I have uttered the words, It’s hard to be a woman in business, It’s hard to be a mother, but then I think, the life I lead, could not be lead by anyone other than a woman.
On International Women’s Day [IWD], we celebrate the social, cultural, political and economic achievements of everyday women. In the weeks leading up to IWD, I’ve had the chance to have some insightful conversations with some of the women in my life, on how far we have come, but also, how much further we have to go.
In these instances, I’m left to wonder where these changes need to be made, and can often get overwhelmed. I realize that a lot of mistruths and false narratives are deeply built into how society views women and girls, and as a result, how we view ourselves.
It starts early. I recently had a conversation with a friend who shared with me how her three year old daughter had come home from daycare one day and said she was told by a young boy that she couldn’t carry something heavy. It made me think about the difference between how we talk to boys and girls from a very young age, and how that impacts how they feel about their strengths growing up.
When Fouad and I found out we were pregnant, we decided to let the gender be a surprise. As a married couple that runs a company together, which takes a lot of planning and communication in both arenas to work, we really don’t get to have too many surprises in our relationship anymore, and this felt like it could be a really special one.
But on top of that, I didn’t want knowing the gender to influence the decisions I made when shopping, or even how I dreamt about the future of this little human growing inside of me. I wanted this little human to feel strong and capable regardless of his or her gender.
Even still, since having my son, I’ve noticed myself creeping towards the “boys” section from time to time. Why is it that boys can’t enjoy rainbow blankets or young girls can’t enjoy onesies with trucks on them? Where do these “rules” come from?
I’d hate for my son to ever be told he couldn’t be emotional or enjoy something society has deemed as feminine - and alternatively, it would break my heart just as much to know he was the one saying to a little girl, something as equally stifling.
As I think more about IWD, I really want to focus on, and celebrate the everyday women who are breaking those glass ceilings for themselves, right now. Those that are out there fighting, and showing up, and raising babies, and leading departments, and then pumping on their lunch breaks.
Since becoming a mom, never before have I thought more deeply about the kind of woman I want to be. I think a lot about how I want my son to view women, and I am excited for him to grow up witnessing us, his father and I, create and build a movement that celebrates all the amazing women out there, and also support the women within this space, here at Woodlot, in all the transformations they will go through.
Because it starts right here, wherever you are. It might be the little girl your son plays with at daycare, a member of your team, your grandmother, or a woman at the grocery store who could use a simple smile of understanding when she is struggling with her two year old.
Be the light. For every woman. Not just on International Women’s Day, but everyday.