Celebrating International Women’s Day to highlight women’s achievements and ongoing challenges
Diana Cheaib Houry, Psychotherapist at Thrive Wellbeing Centre, reveals what International Women’s Day actually means for women, what’s so special about this day and why today’s women are tomorrow’s role models.
When we hear the words “Women’s day,” some may ask, “What is so special about being a woman to deserve a day dedicated to her?” However, as we delve deeper into the history of Women’s Day, we recognize the struggles and challenges women have faced and continue to face in various cultures. Women’s Day is a reminder of the long way and the transformation women have had to undergo before settling into a certain balance and feeling that they are “in their element.”
The day of March 8 is closely linked to the struggle for women’s rights, a fight that continues to this day. Women’s rights have a deep purpose that goes to the essence of being a woman: the right to exist as an entity in itself. Women have consistently challenged their limits and explored different aspects of their identity, especially with the availability of education and work. With work becoming accessible, women have become an important source of financial stability, causing a significant change in family dynamics.
However, achieving themselves was never smooth sailing for women. Every right they gained was the fruit of a long battle, and the path towards it was filled with many obstacles and challenges. The main aspect to be recognized is the identity work and the internal conflict women are often exposed to. Women’s roles have multiplied, but the expectations towards them remained the same, leading to unrealistic ideals. Women are in a constant negotiation between the different aspects of their identity. When there is a high conflict between these aspects or the values they tend to, they fall into developing symptoms, such as guilt and not feeling “good enough and sometimes even into anxiety or depression. Also many symptoms such as migraine, back pain, stomach issues can be an expression of this identity conflict.
Today’s women are often pushed to proceed by trial and error, leading the way while being kind of in the dark, without enough references or anchors they can turn to. However, they keep pushing through without guidance, and as a result, they are tomorrow’s role models. Women are also faced with the challenge of embracing many aspects brought by modernity while rooted in traditions and a culture that they would like to keep belonging to and not be rejected from.
Women’s status is usually a main barometer for modernity, which puts them in the front line when it comes to the balance a culture can seek between tradition and modernity. Women have been able to question the timeline and frame they needed to stay in when it comes to marriage and maternity. However, social pressure is still present, and in every step forward, we can still hear the fear in women when they confess, “What if I am wrong in focusing on my career? What if I won’t be able to get married and have a family?”
While we read about women’s glory and power in expositions and fairs, it reminds us that the link between women and achievements or success is still relatively new, which explains the reason why they require expositions, articles, or celebrations. When it becomes the norm, we won’t need a “Women’s day” anymore!