International Women’s Day……Are we enforcing the gender gap?

International Women’s Day is about celebrating women. Why don’t we celebrate men too? Are we enforcing the gender gap by celebrating women in this way? When is International Men’s Day? 

I want to look at my life, my business and how I see the world. Just for a moment, indulge me…

I wouldn’t describe myself as a “feminist,” as such. I don’t support women-only groups or events and I’d just as happily hold a door open for a man, as expect him to hold one open for me. I’ve found a balance that works for me.

Instead of celebrating women today, this is why we should be celebrating everyone.

What is it about??

International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year.

After the Socialist Party of America organised a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909, in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually. It remains an annual event which is now heavily promoted and discussed on social media platforms.

How does it make YOU feel?

As a woman do you feel important on this day? Do you reflect on the actions of Emmeline Pankhurst and celebrate the fact that we have the vote? Do you cast aside your pencil skirt in favour of a trouser suit and embrace equality?

As a man, do you bristle at the unfairness of the day and wonder what all the fuss is about? Do you wonder when the politically correct will come up with “international men’s day?” Do you chortle at the absurdity that women still feel the need to celebrate their gender in this way?

What emotions has it evoked in me today?

On this day every year I am forced, unless I avoid social media entirely, to “shout out to the women in my life who inspire me” or “celebrate the successes of women”.

 I simply don’t understand why we STILL feel the need to celebrate being women. I don’t. I celebrate being ME. I don’t feel the need to boast about my gender and its balance or lack of equality.

I could embrace it, I could feel chuffed that we suffer period pain, delighted that we have to dose ourselves up with chemicals to prevent unwanted pregnancy, celebrate the lines on my shoulders where my bra straps dig in. Hell, it won’t be long before I can dance a little jig to the menopause!

Imagine if you were forced to endure International Men’s Day! Imagine if you were excluded from certain networking events or conferences because of your gender.

What being a woman means to me

I am one half of a partnership with my husband. I don’t consider myself to be any less worthy a half of that relationship due to my gender. Yes, I am mostly responsible for the cooking, cleaning, washing and parenting but I am supported in all of that by my husband.

I get up with him every morning and make him a cuppa whilst he showers, I make him a packed lunch and I wave him off to work. Do I do that because I’m the little woman? NO! I do it because I love him. It’s the little things you do for each other that demonstrate that love.

He works longer hours than I do and he works outside in all weathers. I choose, because I love him, to make him a home-made dinner most evenings. I then delight in his enjoyment of it surrounded by our family.

I know when I was breast-feeding my son, my husband felt left out, he felt inadequate and lost because I was the only one who could comfort our son. He would have swapped places with me in a heartbeat to feel the love that our son gave to me in those special moments which will always mean the world to me.

Would he be happy that his moobs (man-boobs) then lost their elasticity and resembled a deflated balloon? Probably not!

Equality all the way

I do believe in equality. My argument with IWD is that I already feel EQUAL. I don’t feel the need to celebrate the amazing women in my life any more than I feel it necessary to single out the men in my life for celebration.

My business community and its networking events, workshops and mentoring sessions have, and always will, be open to both genders (as well as those who don’t identify with either gender come to that matter!).

There’s a simple reason for this. I’m all about supporting peoplein business. Why would I alienate 50% of my ideal customers based on their gender?

I have, I’m embarrassed to admit, attended women only events in the past. I’ve found them to be less uplifting, less well-balanced in terms of sector, less fun and the least productive in terms of generating business.

Is there a need to hide behind other women when marketing your business? Are men really that abhorrent? Frightening? Imposing? Threatening?

I think we should be celebrating success, celebrating the overcoming of adversity, celebrating people, celebrating life.

I support any and every one that comes through the doors to my events. I focus on understanding them and their business. I help them to find the right contacts to assist them in developing. I listen to them when they need help and support. I celebrate their successes and I call them my friends.

Our community is not one based on one-upmanship. It’s not about bullying, intimidating, competing, arguing or cheating. It’s a community of people who lift each other up in many, many ways and celebrate success together.

The reason our events are pay as you go is so that we don’t exclude ANYONE. I’m passionate about supporting people in business regardless of where they are at on their business journey. I don’t want anyone to miss out on our support.

What did I celebrate on March 8th?

Life. I took some time to consider how blessed I am to be in my position, to be surrounded by amazing (if not 100% perfect) people. I celebrated the success of my business and wondered at how I manage to balance it all on a daily basis. I practised gratitude. Not because I’m a woman, but because I’m ME.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear whether or not you celebrated International Women’s Day, and what it means to you. As a woman, do you feel as though women-only networking events appeal to you more? As a man, would you celebrate an International Men’s Day?