What does being a women mean to you?
For my ancestors being a woman meant that their path was already carved out for them and life was lived in the boundaries of expectation. Indeed, for women in many areas of the world this is still the case.
Last week, I spent an hour or so exploring the stories of amazing women over on the Makers site and it really got me thinking about what it means to be a women, here today. My generation have been blessed in that we haven't seen the struggles for equality that our mothers and grandmothers encountered. We can vote and drive and work our way up the corporate ladder like never before - we are told we can be whatever we want to be.
But is that really the case?
Not so long ago I was found struggling to define myself as a woman, I was facing the probability that having children might not be an option for my hormonally-challenged body and that marriage and the family life I had always pictured might never materalise. Some of you will be reading this and thinking "so what? Those things don't make you a woman!" but at the time it wasn't so clear cut for me. One of the fundamental differences between the genders is woman's ability to bring new life into this world and if I couldn't do that, did it mean I could never live out my purpose as a woman? And, would never getting married mean I had failed at being desirable enough as a woman for someone to want to commit to me in that way?
It sounds ridiculous now but these were very real thoughts I had to work through. Whilst I grew up learning I could go out and have whatever career path I chose, I also grew up with a definition of what it means to be a woman that was shaped by society and popular culture. A definition that portrayed women as having it all - the career, the marriage and the family.
Luckily, sitting here today I have a very different perspective on what it means to be a woman and who I am as a woman.
Being a woman means having the freedom to define it in whatever way I choose.
I can choose what is important to me - not what is expected of me but what I really desire.
I am privileged to work and connect with beautiful, fierce women who are choosing to make their own freedom and live a life of purpose. Women who are trailblazers and changemakers, women who are mothers, wives, daughters, friends. Women who want to show the world who they are.
I love what being a women means to them and I love what it now means to me. I am proud of all the parts of me that give me my "womaness", my feminine strength, my ability to connect with others on a deeply emotional level. I am even proud of my hormonally-challenged body as it and those hormones make me who I am. Of course, I still have emotional, messy days where I feel like hiding those parts from the world and I need to realign my perspective, but as I grow deeper in my connection to myself those days are becoming fewer.
This world needs what we have to offer, as women. The people in your life choose to connect with you because of who you are, as a woman. So, today go out into the world knowing that you have the freedom to choose to make your own definitions and to carve your own path.
Happy International Women's Day.