I want to briefly share two stories that came to my mind when I was preparing for this year’s post. The first is a dream I had a few nights ago. I was in a museum-like setting where the bust of a man was replicated 20-30 times. A crowd had come to pay tribute to the man. At each “station,” there was a plaque enumerating the man’s accomplishment across his lifetime. In sensing the crowd’s admiration, I understood that this man had lived a good and virtuous life. When I awoke, the details of the dream stayed fresh. After pondering what it might mean, the predominant question became - why did I dream about a man and not a woman? The answer came instantaneously. The bust of a woman would not have stoked such fervent admiration from me. That is because the successful and effective leadership of a woman feels like the exception rather than the rule.
Which leads to the story I shared in the video introduction - the race. Frankly, until my dad boasted about me “beating all those boys,” it never occurred to me that I could not win. Though I am positive his intentions were good, the idea that I am weaker because of my gender sprouted. Over the years, this idea germinated until it grew into the belief that I am not as capable or competent as someone of the other sex. Honestly, I do not know what stoked the belief so successfully: cultural or societal norms, my own feelings of inadequacy? Here is what I wish – that we as women would stop viewing ourselves as less because of our gender.
Feminism is not about making women stronger. Women are already strong; it is about changing the way the world perceives that strength.
Let me be clear. 30 Days for Women is not anti-men. It is not my intention to separate or divide by pointing out inequalities and/or discrimination. Character not gender is what should define a person. With that spirit, I encourage everyone to participate. Even if you do not consider yourself a person of faith, the experience may surprise you. Join us. Simply raise your voice each morning to the one who listens and understands issues of inequality better than anyone – someone who longs to act justly and mercifully. Prayer works. Prayer is powerful, so share my post. Invite others to come alongside to improve communities across the globe. When we acknowledge the inner strength of each individual woman, we will channel that strength for the greater good.
A world full of empowered women is not one where men are marginalized. It is a world where everyone thrives.
― Purnima Mane, President and CEO of Pathfinder International
About 30 Days
Once a year in November, I post a list of 30 daily prayers or wishes for women's issues. Follow me on twitter, instagram, or Facebook (@nicismeyer) during the month of November to join with others in lifting our voices high for women across the globe.
A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”