March 8, 2021
March 8th is International Women’s Day
It’s a day of both celebration and contemplation. Celebration of all that women have accomplished, and contemplation of the work to come in ensuring equity of opportunity, respect, and freedom in every community around the globe.
This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) theme is “Let’s Choose to Challenge.” It’s an invitation for women and men to challenge the barriers women still face, to retire stereotypes which hinder pathways to success, and to acknowledge and reject biases—both implicit and explicit— which hurt us all.
As nurses, we witness daily the inequities of opportunity that are a result of structural imbalances in power. Women are far too often on the wrong side of those imbalances. We see enormous disparities in the jobs we are encouraged to explore, childrearing expectations, pay, and, of course, access to quality healthcare.
Perpetuated because those in power generally decide who stays in power, we must all work together to form more equitable societies. It should be noted that the inequity faced by women as a broad group can be compounded by our many intersectional identities. These inequities are literally killing women, particularly Black, Indigenous and other people of color.
Of course, such complex problems have a variety of causes, but each one needs to be challenged. As this year’s IWD theme says, “Let’s Choose to Challenge.” We must invest deeply in the success of those who are different from ourselves to influence change on a massive scale.
Let’s also choose to take time today and reflect on how much we all lose—personally and as societies—if we don’t listen to and value each and every person.