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I can be kind, humble and powerful

I can be kind, humble and powerful.

I choose to challenge on International Women’s Day.

No, wait a minute, I choose to challenge every damn day, not just this day. I don’t want attention for it, I don’t want a day talking about women’s rights, I would rather you actually start giving some to us.

Think about it, less than 100 years ago, in the UK, 1928 The Equal Franchise Act was passed giving women equal voting rights with men. All women aged over 21 could now vote in elections. Before that fifteen million women’s voices were not heard. Between me and you I think women have been around a lot longer than 100 years.

Today is International Women’s Day, and the UN have chosen the theme #ChooseToChallenge

“I’m no longer accepting the things I cannot change.
I’m changing the things I cannot accept.” Angela Davis

What fascinates me about some of the IWD posts I have seen is the attempt at pacifying a women’s voice, in an outrightly sexist way. The peculiarity is that women are even doing this.

“Before you choose to challenge, be gentle, be good.”

  • What does being good and gentle mean exactly? When men are assertive they are applauded, when women are assertive they are perceived as being angry, bad or not lady-like. All human beings should be considerate and compassionate, and yet often only women are reprimanded in advance for acts they haven’t violated.

“Before you choose to challenge, consider those around you, your family, friends and colleagues.”

  • Because women have been historically told everyone else’s opinion come before their own? We are daughters, mothers and wives as an identity before our own. According to the work/family narrative and broader cultural notions, a woman’s commitment to family is primary by nature, so their commitment to work has to be secondary. A family-first stance comes at a significant cost to our careers and professional ambitions.

“Before you act, consider your community. Imagine how things will be like for you and your community when you act.”

  • Clearly this person does not have a south asian background, we have been fed this line all our lives. Often this societal pressure keeps a lot of women from progressing and living a life they wish too. So many women, whatever their heritage or background, live with patriarchal violence. Many women who experience domestic violence and rape are often pressured not to speak out.

“Before you act, get over yourself… don’t act from anger.”

  • I mean if you are a women and the inequality doesn’t make you angry, there is something not quite adding up. That doesn’t mean going in all guns blazing. But it is a clear indication for clarifying that anger is a natural emotion and it should be expressed. How it is expressed is perhaps the point to discuss. It is detrimental to health and well-being to suppress anger. On the contrary anger at social injustice is a great catalyst for igniting change. I used that energy to construct this blog post. I read these four statements in a peers post, and it made me rather angry. Ta-dah here is the way I resolved that, I acted from anger, and this is the result.

I shall not re-treat.
I shall challenge, and
I shall do this daily if needs be.

My inherent nature is kind, for that has been programmed into me partly as it is known as women’s characteristic. I am not dismissing that element, I actually love it. All human beings should be kind and compassionate. However, I can be kind, humble and powerful. The power being the most important for bringing equity, justice and fairness across all courts.


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