Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy International Women's Day!
Today is International Women's Day. According to my Amazon Echo Dot, which gives me a fun fact every morning, today is "a day to celebrate the amazing achievements of women around the world."

Kind of impressive.

"Alexa," my Echo Dot software, had a follow-up this morning, too, prompting me to ask, "Alexa, who inspires you?" The answers ranged from women I'd heard of (Sally Ride, Simone Biles, Melinda Gates) to others I had to look up (Jane McGonigal, Grace Brewster Murray Hopper).

Today (which is not the first International Women's Day, by the way), women around the world are marking the day by rallying or striking. Limiting purchases to small, women-owned businesses to make their economic impact clear. Wearing red.

Today is not a scheduled work day for me, so I didn't have to make the decision to work or not to work. I forgot to wear red, and at my local Starbucks (not a small, woman-owned business, I'm sorry to say) all of the baristas (today) are female.

Today is a scheduled writing day for me, and I am digging in with abandon. While I admire the women who are rallying and raising their voices for women everywhere, I prefer to raise my voice, so to speak, here. All of those women Alexa told me about today became women we recognize and admire because they pursued their passions. They worked hard at the things that mattered to them and, as a result, their impact was felt in a big way.

I don't expect that I'll ever make the impact on writing that Simone Biles has made on gymnastics, and I'm okay with that. And honestly, if today was a teaching day for me, I would have gone to work. To me, educating all those young women (and men) in my classes and empowering them to go out and change the world, even if only in a small way, is exactly how I want to spend my day.

International Women's Day, in my mind, ought to be about the freedom to spend the day and celebrate it in the way that feels right to each person. If you want to rally and raise your voice, you should. As for me, I'm spending my day writing with a (female) friend because celebrating that part of me is what feels right. I will call my mother and my daughter and reach out to my sister and other female friends because it's not just the Sally Rides and the Jane McGonigals of at the world who empower others and make the world a better place.

So today, however you do it, celebrate the women you know. Let them know that they matter. Tip your baristas and servers and put away your cell phone when you're ordering. Thank your mother, celebrate your daughters and sisters.

Tell the women you know why they make the world a better place. And thank them for it.

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