I may not be the right person this year to put my thoughts on paper about the rights, status or equality of women in our society. A sour taste has been left in my mouth over the past week after an incident with a male business affiliate, leaving me a little bitter.
But despite my lemon-like mindset, March 8 is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to be celebrated. It’s a day to reflect on the accomplishments, merits and distance women have come to achieve equality. When I look around me, in my community and workplace, I am proud to see many women in positions of leadership and empowerment.
Female politicians, municipal councillors, health leaders, business owners, union reps and artists are all strong voices in our North Coast. The president of the north division of Black Press Media is a female, the publisher of The Northern View is female and your editor is female.
I am taking the days leading up to March 8 to reflect upon the positive changes and progression my female-led team at The Northern View has accomplished in the past year. We have made strides to modernize the look of our publication, to adjust content, to reach out to readers and build our business. We have been given the empowerment to make changes. But through this, I see the daily struggles of staffing challenges, maintaining budgets, meeting deadlines and trying to balance the many spinning plates of family and homelife my female colleagues accomplish each day.
To find that balance so the spinning plates don’t crash and splinter on the ground, sacrifices have to be made. I am not one to believe that a woman can “have it all” or that any woman does have it all. If you think that, please remove your rose coloured-glasses because to have it all, you have to do it all — all the time.
That is a complete fallacy and illusion. It is an unrealistic expectation that women put upon themselves. That, my friends, is just not healthy or attainable in the long term. Burnout will occur. Something has to give, something has to be sacrificed. And for women, it’s usually themselves, their mental well-being, self-care or their inner strength. I know that I do this. I sacrifice myself for the sake of doing it all so everyone else gets what they need.
So recently, I had been working non-stop on a project that was near completion and I was proud of accomplishing it. I was excited to see the fruition and the end result. However, a point was made to me by a male affiliate that was incorrect. I pointed out the error and offered suggestions for correction. Imagine my feelings when I was told that by doing this I was “officious”, “trying to create a position for myself” and “kicking people around with heavy boots ” because I didn’t “have enough work to do”.
With International Women’s Day approaching, I had to wonder if those comments would have been made if I was a male in business. Would a man have said that to another man? If he did, would he have gotten away with spewing those words or would he have been “invited outside”? Is this what equality has come to? Or is it that equality has not yet been reached in all corners and gender disparity still exists?
I am proud of the work I do. I am proud of the effort I put in – more often than not 14 hours days to produce a quality product. I am proud of the team of women in my circle. I am proud to be a woman in today’s society and to be able to use my voice.
So, I say to my sisters, on International Women’s Day, proclaim your accomplishments, be pleased with a job well done and take time to celebrate yourself because you don’t have to have it all or do it all. Don’t allow anyone to depreciate your value.