March 8 is designated as an official holiday in some areas of the world. International Women’s Day, which began as National Women’s Day, in 1909 in New York, evolved out of necessity for equal rights. International Women’s Day should be a day to celebrate all women.
National Women’s Day became global in 1910, turning into International Women’s Day, with 17 countries participating that year. International Women’s Day focuses on gender equality, ending violence towards women, equal pay rates, and empowerment. International Women’s Day celebrates the strides women have made and focuses on what steps are still necessary. This begs the question, do mothers play a role in International Women’s Day? The answer should be a loud and unmistakable yes.
Mothers are of vital importance in the world. Mothers are raising the next generation, they play such a phenomenal role in shaping what society becomes. Do not forget the importance of having a variety of female influences in one’s life, but especially do not undermine the importance of a mother. Mothers everywhere should be recognized for the critical part they play, whether they are working moms, or stay at home moms. All women should be celebrated on International Women’s Day. The theme for International Women’s Day this year is Inspiring Change. It is time to inspire change, and have women support each other versus tearing each other down.
It is because of women in previous years that mothers are allowed the opportunity to make choices, to work, to stay home, or even work from home. Take, for example, the brave choice of a mother who decided to open her own business. Kendrah Galassi, who is starting on her second business adventure, is the mother of two young children. She is opening an indoor creative playground and craft studio, CREATE, in Henderson, NV. Galassi was able to take something important to her, her passion for creating, and turn it into an amazing business that allows her to keep her children with her. Galassi said, “When brainstorming ideas for a new business it was important to me that I came up with something that would not only allow me to have my children with me, but be a place that my children would have fun in and would not outgrow.”
Still other women make the powerful choice to work from home. Lauren Martin, APRN, MSN, FNP-BC, Henderson, NV resident, is a successful board certified nurse practitioner who felt it was important to make the decision to work from home. Martin stated, “It was very easy for me to get caught up in extra demands of the job and I noticed my children received my less than best self when I was overworked and over-tired. I missed milestones and achievements.” After relocating, Martin had the opportunity to work from home for a hospital, admitting patients over the phone at night. Martin said, “Could we be more financially well off if I worked full-time also? Absolutely. But to me, it’s not worth missing the time with my children. They are my number one and most challenging and rewarding job. And I’m blessed to have the choice and opportunity to be home with them.” She also adds that it would not be possible for her to be successful in this choice without the support of her husband.
There are studies that portray women leaving their career after having children as a bad thing. If this is truly what the woman wants, how is that a bad thing? If International Women’s Day is sincerely about empowering women, it should celebrate all of the choices a woman has, including the choice to stay home with her children. Choosing to stay home with one’s children is an empowering choice, and it deserves recognition.
Take for example, Rebecca Jones of Henderson, NV. Jones is a mother of three children, who made the choice to stay at home. She has a psychology degree from Brigham Young University. Her previous career experience includes working in corporate insurance and managing a group foster home. Jones stated, “I choose to be at home because of the stability it provides my children. I can meet their special needs; for example, when my daughter began to suffer in school we decided to home school her. Life has significantly improved in every area. My time with her is my favorite part of the day. I would miss that opportunity if I were not a stay-at-home mom.”
Jones is able to recognize her worth as a mother, but all too often mothers who choose to be at home are made to feel like they are “just” a mom. If International Women’s Day is about all women, it is important to focus on the needs of all women. Women who choose to be at home need support. They need to be recognized, they need to know their work is important, they need to not be left behind. Raising children is no easy feat, and women who make the choice to stay home should be commended, just as women who choose to be in the work field are.
Women who are not mothers are no less important. International Women’s Day needs to celebrate these women too. They need to be recognized for their hard work, and as being a part of the driving force that is leading the way to gender equality. But in celebration of these women, please do not forget to celebrate those that are mothers. Do not forget the knowledge, determination, and courage that they have, that all women share. Sometimes it is easy to pit women against each other, and make one out to be the enemy. The working mom is awful for leaving her children, the stay at home mom is pathetic for not having a career, the women without children is foolish for not having children. These are not true, and they are damaging to women everywhere. These falsities go against exactly what International Women’s Day is all about, uniting, empowering, and supporting.
Take a moment and consider the women in the world. There is still a lot to be done to help these women. Without a doubt there should be movements to end violence towards women. Absolutely there should be individuals working for more gender equality, especially regarding the pay gap. And yes, there should be support for mothers. Celebrate the working women without children, celebrate the working women with children, and celebrate the mom who is home with her children. Celebrate them all, because each one of them is worthy of, and deserving of, respect. Women especially should be celebrating each other rather than focusing on why career women are better, or why moms have it harder. Join together and support each other. On this International Women’s Day all women everywhere should be celebrated.
Opinion by Ashley Campbell