Youth and beauty are not accomplishments.
Yesterday, a friend whom I have not seen in more than two decades sent a greeting to mark International Women’s Day. Admittedly, there are many females whose accomplishments are worthy of celebration. But since most of them exist outside my bubble, I cannot relate to their struggles even though I deeply admire them.
Let’s get this straight. It’s not that we don’t care about the hardships that Michelle Obama and Ruth Baden Ginsburg (watch the trailer for her new documentary where she’s shown doing a plank here) went through. It’s just that their ascent to stratospheric heights has left us dizzy with dismay at the lack of opportunities in underdeveloped countries or countries with a male dominant culture. In places like these, a woman would have to be born into a wealthy or well-connected family to be educated and rise above the well-accepted lot of being a mere housewife. This is why I admire women like Iranian human rights activist Shirin Ebadi more than American women.
In reality, there are several women I admire from a distance. I marvel at how they have combined a career and family and managed to turn out independent, happy, productive children. Some of them are single mothers. Sadly, I have not seen most of them in decades so I have no idea of the struggles they went through to reach their present status. What I’d give to pick their brains over coffee, though! (I have a friend whom I asked for advise on raising boys and she reminded me that her son ran away at thirteen … so there’s that)
What I am waiting for actually … and this I cannot understand (I mean, among the billions of women in the planet, who can understand Sheryl Sandberg when she advises women to lean in?) because millions of women care for babies … is for the inventor of disposable diapers to be celebrated by print, social and broadcast media.
Hello??? Do you even know who she is? Nope, she’s not a Pampers executive. She’s Marion Donovan and like most women whose achievements were celebrated yesterday, she had to battle sexist thinking that her invention was unnecessary. You can read her story here.
Plus. You can read about Henrietta Lacks, Qiu Jin, Diane Arbus and other women of substance in the New York Times’ 15 Remarkable Women We Overlooked in our Obituaries. What better way to celebrate International Women’s Day than to educate yourself on women who are doing something to change the world, eh? If you have a daughter, do yourself a favor: tell her about them. 🙂