Musings on International Women’s Day by Lily Graham

08.03.21 SHARE

Musings on International Women’s Day by Lily Graham

Koorie Youth Council

When I think of International Women’s Day, I’d love to say I think of freedom, liberation and equality, but I don’t.

For this blog I was going to write a letter to my daughter. After much deliberation I decided against it. I don’t want to tell her that we live in a world where things aren’t fair, aren’t equal and sometimes just don’t make sense.

I don’t want to tell her that women don’t get the same opportunities, the same pay rates nor the same access to education as men, or that the statistics of violence and sexual abuse towards a woman are terrifying.

I have listened to women tear one another down, create fear for each other and prove that not all humans are kind. I can only hope my daughter never experiences this. I can only hope that no person has to experience this.

I believe as women we underestimate the impact we have on one another; our words, our actions, our influence. The power we have to uplift each other, to be strength together and to collectively rise above what society tells us we cannot do. I believe women hold the answer, however society has given men the power.

For women to have more rights, men must have less ego.

I decided to write a letter to my son.

Dear son,

It starts with you. The change sits in your hands.

You have a great responsibility in this life to demonstrate equality every day.
As a male, society will always give you the upper hand. I ask you to challenge that, to call it out and ask ‘why does my sister not receive the same opportunities?’

You must always remember that your sister is an equal with you, that she can be as strong as you and as powerful as you. Your sister is as smart as you and as capable as you. No matter what society says to challenge that, you must always speak louder.

Be the boy that never says words like ‘you can’t do that because you’re a girl’.
Be the boy that knows that girls are equal and deserve every freedom that boys get.
Be the boy that never disrespects a female and always advocates for the same behaviour amongst your friends.
Don’t ever let your friends degrade women, please son, take a stand.

We are raising you to respect everybody in life, to challenge the status quo where you think something is unjust, and to always speak up for the voiceless or oppressed. Though I want you to be better than that, I want you to make space for those that have been silenced and ensure they feel heard.

We will raise you in a household where men and women are equal in all respects. I will take out the garbage and your father will do the dishes. Gender will never play a role in inequality in our home.

I ask you to always be a gentleman and always respect women.

But remember, there is a fine line between being chivalrous and patronizing.

Love always, Mum.
A woman.