Today, March 8, 2013, is International Women’s Day around the globe. Beginning on this day in 1857, when garment workers in New York City staged a protest against inhumane working conditions and low wages, to today, when we still have similar issues around the world, International Women’s Day has drawn attention to issues impacting women in all facets of life.
This got us to thinking about the state of women in higher education, and in Student Affairs, around the world. In the United States, we hope that you will pause to consider three things on this day:
- First – realize just how lucky you are to live and work in this country, where (while we still have a long way to go in some key areas like equal pay, promotion, tenure and patriarchal policies), at least more women have access to education, and are rich and vibrant members (and leaders) in our field than ever before.
- Second – we hope you will consider some of the conditions women face across the globe. We have women colleagues in different parts of the world that struggle just to make it to work because of lack of transportation. We have colleagues for whom maternity leave is simply not an option because it doesn’t exist. We have colleagues who face sexism and sexual harassment without the protection of laws and policies. Take a moment to consider how your voice can add to the conversation and how your actions can impact progress in these areas.
- Third – we hope you will find ways, on this day, to reach out and help up other women – both domestically and globally. In this day and age of social media, your reach is wider than you think. Take the time to connect and decide how you will contribute to the cause.
On this day of struggle, strife and triumph, we can celebrate how far women have come. But we cannot – we must not – forget how far we still have left to go. Realize right now that YOU have the power to help change our future. And remember:
“One person with passion is better than 40 people who are merely interested” – E.M. Forester
Our challenge to you – be the one.
Happy International Women’s Day!
Ann Marie & Julie