Happy International Women’s Day. I do love the theme this year:
‘Each for Equal, an equal world is an enabled world’.
I think we all know the benefits of having a more gender-balanced world, however I feel part of the problem is there are still many who don’t believe in it. Hence we are where we are right now. We’ve made some progress but it’s really not enough.
I am a huge believer that for things to change, it’s up to each of us to lead it. We can’t rely on others to do this for us. We need to lead the change that we want to see in the world. It can be simply challenging your own biases and presumptions. We all have them, I know I do and I have to challenge myself often. It might simply being more supportive of the women around you or it might simply be that you say ‘not today’.
On 1st December 1955 Rosa Parks was travelling home from work on a bus in Montgomery Alabama. She was seated in the coloured section of the bus as the buses were segregated at that time. On this day, the white section had filled up and the bus driver, a white man, noticed that white people were standing. He pulled over and ordered the coloured people to stand in order to extend the white seating section.
Rosa Parks was seated and simply responded with ‘not today’ and would not stand up. She was subsequently arrested and fined. The fact that Rosa took a stand led to some significant moments in history. The first was the Montgomery Bus Boycott from 5 Dec – 20th 1956 that was a civil rights protest by the African Americans. This then led to the integration of the bus system and the subsequent rise of the prominent leader of American Civil rights – Martin Luther King jnr.
All because Rosa Parks said ‘not today’.
She was asked why she had responded in that way and asked if she had been tired. Rosa stated she wasn’t physically tired, but she was emotionally tired of being treated like a second rate citizen and she wasn’t going to tolerate it any longer.
Because she said ‘not’ today she started the huge and significant ripple effect of change for African Americans. This is the power one woman created by using her voice.
Is there anything in your life that you are tolerating that if you said ‘not today’ it could change things for you or for you and others around you? It might be how people are treating you, that you are accepting status quo somewhere, that you are being taken advantage of or seeing others being treated poorly.
Here’s to a more equal world and to you in leading the charge.