This International Women's Day, Let's Celebrate

Tara Kelly on March 8, 2023

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day! We celebrate all that we have done and are reminded of all that we have left to do!

I celebrate Harriet Beecher Stowe for her best-selling novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin" (1852) that truly popularized the anti-slavery movement and brought about social change as a result.  Legend has it that in 1862, Abraham Lincoln greeted Beecher Stowe at the White House by saying, "So this is the little lady who started this great war", in reference to the American Civil War. To which I imagine she answered a most respectful, “hell yeah, I did!”. I celebrate her!

I celebrate the right to vote—it didn’t come easily. Here in Alberta, Canada we were granted the right to vote provincially in 1916. By 1921, some women were granted the right to vote federally, but sadly not all women. Women of color weren't allowed to vote at either provincial or federal levels until the late 1940s. I celebrate the voting rights we have today!

I celebrate The Famous Five—Emily Murphy, Irene Marryat Parlby, Nellie Mooney McClung, Louise Crummy McKinney, and Henrietta Muir Edwards—who asked the Supreme Court of Canada to answer the question, “Does the word 'Persons' in Section 24 of the British North America Act, 1867, include female persons?". The petition, filed on August 27, 1927, was denied one year later with the unanimous decision that women are in fact not “persons”. However, the following year, this decision was overturned, and we got a yes! Women were deemed “persons”, which meant they could hold seats in the senate. I celebrate this!

I celebrate Rosa Parks for being a catalyst in the civil rights movement. Rosa Louise McCauley Parks was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The United States Congress has called her "the First Lady of Civil Rights" and "the Mother of the Freedom Movement". One day she just decided, “no I will not give up my seat.”  If you don’t remember this story you should read it. I celebrate her!

I celebrate our Canadian government for giving men and women the right to take government-paid maternity or paternity leave since 2001—for up to 18 months! This promotes family values and mental health, not to mention teaching equality from birth. The benefits to our country far outweigh the cost. I celebrate the brave men and women who made this happen! 

I celebrate my Mom, Correen Hackl. A woman who taught me there is no greater love than that of a Mother. A woman who laid a bedrock of unconditional love and support for me to grow and build a life. A life where I can stand for what I believe in, challenge conventional wisdom, and make a difference anywhere I can. I celebrate you Correen Hackl—you raised strong women!

I celebrate all those that have come before me. I celebrate all the we have done!
And I also recognize that there is still so much to do!

I look around the world and ask, “how can I be a part of the change?”. Even though as of June 24, 2018 women finally have the right to drive in Saudi Arabia, they still require a legal guardian to give them permission to do so. Let’s not forget the work still to be done! Whether it’s obliterating rape culture by raising our young men differently; raising our daughters to have well-founded confidence in their peers and in our legal systems; or, supporting paid Maternity and Paternity leave in the United States, we all have the opportunity to make a difference in our world.

Ah yes, there is much to do. Let us accept the challenge so that those that come behind us can celebrate!

Alberta, Canada, my backyard--I turn my eyes to you. We are falling WAY behind, and it’s getting worse, not better! A recent study by Women in Communications and Technology cited the following: 

“When we look at the percentage of women in management positions in ICT technical jobs in the Alberta ICT industry… only 5.7% of those positions are held by women (compared to 27.9% in Canada).”

This is nothing to celebrate! The government is doing its part. The Alberta Provincial government is running a fully gender-balanced cabinet:

“…Our caucus is nearly equal and that is a first for Alberta (and) and we were the first government in Canada to have a gender balanced Cabinet. The reason (for this) is Alberta is 50 per cent women. I hope more governments and companies take on this revolutionary idea of reflecting Alberta’s make-up. Having a diversity of voices is how you make the right decisions.”

- Honourable Christina Gray, Minister of Labour, Alberta.

I celebrate this equality and the example it shows the world! Industry: we need to step up—join me and accept the challenge! We must look both across the ocean and at our own backyard! We must not grow tired or feel that we cannot make change! In the words of Rosa Parks, we must live our life “as a role model for others.”

“No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear. Each person must live their life as a model for others.”

- Rosa Parks

We simply must rise to the challenge and we must celebrate our successes! Start today! Join me and take the 1x3 Challenge. Choose one person, one cause, and one habit change:

  1. Help one person rise: to a new position, to entrance into a program, acceptance into a school, a team, whatever. When you’re done, do it again.
  2. Let a cause or issue choose you. Let your heart commit before your mind can even catch up. Stay dialed into the world around you, find something you believe in and move the needle. A little, a lot — it doesn’t matter. Just make it move.
  3. Look at your life, pick one thing you want to start or one thing you want to stop. Then do it every day for 30 days. Chances are it will stick.
I dare you to try it. And together we will have much to celebrate! Want to learn more about the 1X3 Challenge? Read my article in Authority Magazine.