Smile ladies, it’s International Women’s Day!
It’s so hard to put into words the beauty of being a woman and something I don’t think enough about. To me, being a woman means being me, it’s all that I know, yet, it defines so much of my world. I remember being a fifth grader and thinking to myself, I love fashion, dressing up, and feeling girly, but I don’t want to be treated like someone who does- those girls aren’t taken seriously by other people. It was a mindset that drove me to study incredibly hard, be competitive in both sports and academics, and avoid failure and embarrassing mistakes at all costs. I wanted people to recognize me for my abilities more than my girl-ish appearances- my ultimate defeat being she’s just the dumb blonde girl.
Like myself, every woman can relate to a certain struggle or challenge that they have encountered along the way. It might not even be the deep cuts, but rather the everyday, rubs. Someone referring to you as bossy rather than commanding the room. An eye roll rather than eye contact. Yet, our human experience as women binds us. We understand the beauty in our gender and the uniqueness it affords. We learn how to overcome, with the hope that one day there will be no more need to.
To me, being a woman means so many things. To be scared, brave, fearless, insecure, loud, and outgoing. To be courageous, gentle, silly, strong, and funny. To be aggressive, loving, assertive, aloof, kind, caring, and fierce.
It means being an essential part of life. It means, just like it means to be a man- to be human.
I asked women that I know “what does being a woman mean to you?” and this is what they said!
“To me, being a woman simply means being myself, being a human created in the image of God, maturing to know who God created me to be: a mother, a friend, a writer, a daughter and granddaughter and sister, a lifelong learner, a leader, a follower, an exerciser of gifts and a compensator of weaknesses – pursuing connection, pursuing truth and beauty, pursuing excellence and growth.” – Michelle (Short Hills, NJ)
“I’d say being a woman to me is being the wonderful product of the sacrifices and acts of bravery by the women that came before me. Them being bold, free and unapologetic in their own ways, in the face of resistance and struggle led me to where I am now. I would never be where I am now if those who came before me didn’t stand up for what they believed in, and for that, I am grateful! So, I guess kind of an ode to the women from many generations ago” – Upasana (Boston, MA)
“What does it mean to be a woman to me? It means to have the qualities of a lioness: independent, fierce, loyal, brave, strong, graceful, and agile. It means having the ability to choose to be whoever you want to be in the world – to have the strength to love unconditionally.” – Lucille (Millburn, NJ)
“Being a woman means….being decent, unique human beings! It means being strong in character but balanced with a sense of fairness and compassion. It’s about believing everything is possible regardless of life’s obstacles!” – Gill (Cowbridge, Wales)
“Being a woman to me means being tenacious, compassionate and unapologetically myself.” – Disha (Santiago, Chile)
“Being a woman to me means being courages. Courageous enough to navigate this world that time and time again devalues us.” – Pamela (Boston, MA)
“Part of being a woman for me includes being able to defy the social construct society places us in and continuing to thrive beyond all limits. It means being able to voice my opinion as an equal and ensuring everyone around me has the same right. Being a woman to me means being powerful and fierce, while vulnerable and caring towards those that mean the world to me. Here’s to International Women’s Day this month and every other month because we shouldn’t need a reason to celebrate!” – Divya (Lagos, Nigeria)
“From my perspective, being a woman means being strong, intelligent and successful all while remaining compassionate, elegant and graceful. Being a woman, means achieving all you may put your mind to, despite any obstacle that comes upon your path or any limits you have been confined to. Being a woman is essential and is what completes this world for there would be no life without women.” – Fay (Kuwait City, Kuwait)
“Being a woman means I possess distinguishable, unique qualities that allow me to shine every day.” – Celeste (Wellesley, MA)
“To be a woman is to be resilient, courageous, and strong. Women are just so badass, our energy and auras are truly unmatched. I wake up every morning and truly feel blessed to not only be a strong woman, but surround myself with communities of other strong women similar to myself.” – Ivana (Orange County, CA)
“I cannot think of one word to define womanhood. To me, being a woman means being multifaceted; we are powerful forces of change. Most importantly, being a woman means being an advocate and active defender for women always.” Olivia (Washington, D.C.)
“Being a woman means having an immediate bond with total strangers; I think of the drunk girls you meet in a bar bathroom when you’re having a rough night, who wipe off your runny mascara and tell you you’re beautiful and amazing and smart and too good for whoever or whatever made you feel any less.” – Liza (Providence, Rhode Island)
“What does being a woman mean to me? I am a little embarrassed to say this but, I don’t think about it that much because of the women of the past who have fought for me to have a better life. It was about growing up learning about the inequalities between man and women, hearing stories about discrimination in school and workplace, limited opportunities for women to grow in the workforce, etc. Although discrimination still exists towards women, it has gotten tremendously better due to the past sacrifices of women. A hope that I can also fight for the rights and equalities of other groups that experience discrimination. I never through of women as being a disability because I experienced more discrimination about being Asian-American. Being a woman gives me hope that we still fight for the inequalities inflicted on women but also for the other minorities in our society; POC’s, LGBTQ+ and many more. Being a woman gives me a better hope for a more equal world for all.” – Anonymous
“I don’t really attach too much specific meaning to my gender identity, although I love being a woman, being a woman can mean whatever you want it to mean.” – Carly (Boston, MA)
“Being a woman means I need to find confidence when it’s not always easy for me. Being a woman means I may be the only person of my gender in my analytics meetings. Being a woman means I can overcome any challenge thrown my way.” – Michelle (Boston, MA)
“To me, being a woman means uplifting those around me. Society puts a lot of pressure on women to be “perfect,” but you are your own kind of perfection. Being my own perfection and showing others the perfection within them is personally what I enjoy about being a woman.” – Chelsea (Bronx, NY)
“Being a woman means that I can act like a lady, yet work like a horse. This statement to me means that I’m able to be compassionate and charismatic, yet tenacious, resilient, and capable of anything I set my mind to. It defines Persian women.” – Tara (Los Angeles, CA)
“To be a woman is to have a profound understanding of those that came before us and to forge forward with passion, purpose, and pride. It is to be as strong as you are soft; to endeavor to be equal parts grit and grace each and every day. And above all else, to be a woman is to show up, always – for your friends, your family, your loved ones, and above all else, yourself – and celebrate how far we’ve come and acknowledge how far we have to go.” Kate (Manhattan, NY)
“I am a trusted, intuitively-intelligent, caring, nurturing, brave, passionate, ambitious, confident, independent, curious, genuine, optimistic, happy, kind person. I feel strongly that too much focus on gender divides us rather than unites us. I love being a woman, but I perceive myself as human first, heart first. This way of being in the world attracts infinite possibilities, people and opportunities.” – Marie
“For me, being a woman means having the courage to live life by your own definition. When you overcome your fears, you realize that your power and strength comes from within. It always has.” – Elaine (Toronto, Canada)
“To me, being a woman means getting to enjoy and help display the beautifully varied ways that God has created us as people and women!” – Meredith (Brunswick, ME)
“The ultimate woman in my life is my mom. In observing the way she lives, being a woman means to me, embracing the duality that bred from living in a man’s world. Stern yet soft. Fights for what she believes in, but also forgives quickly. Fierce yet warm. Smart and generous. Protector and nurturer. I am in awe of the strength, depth, heart, and beauty of women everywhere!” – Grace (San Francisco, CA)
“Being a woman means being multifaceted. As I am growing more and more into my womanhood, I’m understanding more and more when and how to show up.” – Monia (Boston, MA)