Today is International Women’s Day, a day to acknowledge the power of women in the world. In my view, the day is celebrated much more in other parts of the world than in the U.S. — I had never heard of it until I worked in Kazakhstan and stayed on a street named “8 March” — but there’s nothing like a cause to make a day more relevant.
Today many women in the U.S. and elsewhere will be taking the day off work as a way to show people — and the man in the White House in particular — how important women are to everyday life. Life won’t stop, but their lack of presence in their usual places will be felt: many classes have been cancelled because of requests for the day off.
I, for one, will not be joining them. Not because I don’t think the cause is worth it, or that I am uninterested, but the fact is, if I don’t work I don’t get paid. My hard work over the course of my career has never paid off: I’ve given everything in me to every job I’ve ever had, and it’s never been enough. I’m back to making an hourly rate I made 22 years ago. I’m not working in the field of my choice, event planning, but I am working — and I am grateful for that. Maybe someday someone will give me a chance, but being an older woman whose most immediate experience isn’t event planning doesn’t exactly make me the most viable candidate. Employers don’t understand that event planning is in my blood: it’s like I was born to do it.
Perhaps I don’t have the power to take the day off, but I have lived through many ordeals in my life. And I’m still standing. I keep moving forward. In that way, I am powerful. I am woman.