“What we know matters, but who we are matters more.” – Brené Brown, author and research professor at University of Houston

Yesterday was International Women’s Day.  Recognized by the United Nations, this day was observed in the early 1900s to celebrate women’s social, economic, and political achievements. Today, we’re celebrating by sharing who we are as women.

Who are we, ladies? We are scientists and mothers, friends and teachers, artists and lawyers, counselors and engineers, dancers and athletes. We’re creative and logical, inquisitive and articulate. We are powerful and capable of anything.

Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, founder of the Women in Leadership publication and co-organizer of Women’s March London, told Vogue, “Take a step back and appreciate who women are as mothers, as entrepreneurs, as community leaders, as young women of vision, as girls rising up to fight the modern-day struggle one hundred years since women got the right to vote.”

 

We Are Powerful

My mother always told me, “Hide your face—people are looking at you.” I would reply, “It doesn’t matter; I’m also looking at them.” – Malala Yousafzai, girls’ education advocate

We use words like “empower” with most everything related to women’s rights. “Empower her,” and “be empowered,” are great phrases, but it makes it seem like someone else needs to give us power. When really, we already have it!

Women have contributed to history, for centuries, we just haven’t received credit. But we’re changing that. We’re starting to give credit to the women who’ve changed history. (Because our leadership and intelligence has shaped this world, and it’s time we recognize it).

Just last year, Fortune 500 featured 34 companies with female CEOS—the highest amount ever. These 34 women are running major companies like IBM, PepsiCo and General Motors, and, get this; these women are earning more than their male counterparts.

According to the Washington Post, new research shows a link between [gender] diversity and better performance within companies. Shocking, right? (insert eye roll here).

Ladies: we have the power, the capability and, now, the support to do anything.

Programs like Girls on the Run and Girls Who Code, teach girls about body positivity, encourage them to participate in sports, and spark interest in the STEM field. They inspire and support girls and are making serious strides to closing the gender gap.

Magazines like Runner’s World and Outside Magazine are featuring more female athletes, showing how women have shaped the outdoor world and athletics.

“I think sports gave me the first place where this awkward girl could feel comfortable in my own skin. I think that’s true for a lot of women,” said Teri McKeever, Olympic swimming coach.

We are telling girls a different story from the one we were told. We’re showing them that they are powerful and capable of doing whatever they want. And, they have support.

 

We’re Progress Pushers

“In the future there will be no female leaders, there will just be leaders.” – Sheryl Sandberg, author and chief operating officer of Facebook.

Look, our impact goes far beyond the women’s suffrage movement. We’ve been part of history since the beginning. We’ve made scientific breakthroughs, discovered new technology, pushed for peace and equality, and so much more.

It doesn’t matter if we’re outside or in the office, at the gym or in the courtroom—women are equal. We’ve always known this. We’ve always had a seat at the table; but now our chair is high enough to reach.

Equality happens in obvious and not-so-obvious ways. A small, but powerful example is some of Disney’s movies. Mulan, Brave and Moana derail the usual woe-is-me-I’m-a-princess-and-a-damsel-in-distress-in-need-of-a-man stereotype. Instead, these stories focus on a girl’s journey to discover her power within.

Our bravery, grit and influence pushes progress. We push for girls’ education around the world, for impartial advertising, and for every area of life and livelihood. Check out #PressforProgress to learn more about how we can continue advancing the world for women.

 

We’re Silence Breakers

“Women speaking up for themselves and for those around them is the strongest force we have to change the world.” – Melinda Gates

Recent movements like #metoo and #timesup show how powerful the female voice is. Thanks to brave women speaking up and out about their personal experiences and thanks to social media, we are not suffering in silence.

We are standing together breaking the silence in many areas. One example: women’s intimate health. We’re owning the word vagina, and normalizing our intimate issues like endometriosis, menopause, bladder leakage and vaginal laxity. Women are done accepting these issues as just “part of life.”

Suffering in silence is OUT, reaching out is IN,” said Ellen Dolgen, writer and advocate for menopause awareness.

One in 10 women suffer from endometriosis, 1 in 2 women suffer from bladder leakage and 40% of all women experience sexual dysfunction. Our health matters—including our intimate health. There are real, dignified solutions developed by women, for women, so they don’t have to suffer in silence. Because we won’t stay silent on any issue anymore.

 

#CelebrateHER

The power within us can break the silence in health, in politics, and in all matters of life. Ladies, let’s change the story for ourselves, for other women, and for all the girls to come.

It’s not about how we’ve been kept down, it’s about how we’ve risen, together, and how we continue to rise. Share this blog with and celebrate who we know we are as women. #CelebrateHER

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