Tuesday, March 08, 2011

...on women's day...

In the past I've written about how I come from a matriarchal family.

Somewhere in the archive of this blog there are many stories about strong women who were the heads of their families, the breadwinners, and the ones who made sure that the kids went to school so that they would have a better life.

We hear stories about families that get caught in perpetual cycles. Not in my family. My great grand mother never went to school. The woman didn't know how to read or write and still she understood the importance of education and the need for her family to overcome adversity. Almost 100 years ago my illiterate great grandmother was a small business owner.

My grandmother went to school. She went to school long enough to learn how to read, write and do basic math. It was more than it was expected from girls at the time, but it was something that my great grandma understood would guide my grandma to a better life and with hard work and little formal education, she became a seamstress and when she found herself a single mother of 3 girls she did just as my great grandmother had done before: she sent her girls to school and pushed forward.

My mother is an attorney. Despite the fact that grandma never made it to college, she understood that not going to college wasn't an option so my mother lived by her example. My mother has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations and all because grandma worked 3 jobs so that her girls could get an education.

And then there is me.

I was always told that I had to excel at everything because I was a woman and as such one day I would have to fend for my family. I have two brothers. And though they were given every opportunity to grow and learn, the focus was always on me- the disadvantaged one. So at 30 years old I have all the tools I need to lead a great life and, of course, to be the one to take care of my family if need be.

Today is international women's day and all day long I've been getting congratulated and seen women give each other high fives as if we, as women, have achieved gender equality. Quite frankly, it makes me sad.

Today is meant to be an acknowledgement of how far we've come but mostly a reminder of how far we still have to go. I don't want to hear a congratulations when I know that there are girls out there who don't get an education because mom is at work and someone needs to take care of the household. I don't want to hear a congratulations, when I know that women still don't earn the same as a man for the same work. I certainly don't want to hear a congratulations when I see that my rights over my body are still debated like I'm incapable to choose for myself.

I think we should take a minute to think about these things before we do the victory dance.

Our plight is still nowhere near over.

No comments: