Happy International Women’s Day, Ms. Independent

International Women's Day

Today, March 8, 2017, is the 106th International Women’s Day, a day that the United Nations recognizes women’s advancements in the workplace, as well as socially and economically.

And I want to take a moment to say thank you. There is no better satisfaction than being an independent woman. I was shopping for groceries, something I did about every other month last year, but I do every other day now that I’m learning to cook. And, all I could think about was how exhausting and scary it is to be an adult – to realize that it’s just you supporting yourself, balancing your budget, cooking for yourself, all while supporting charity and being kind to that neighbor who kept you up till 4 am in the morning (just kidding – I’ve always had good neighbors, I even dated one, but that’s another story).

When I first moved to Chicago, there were a lot of people overprotective about me. When you think of a woman in the city, you think of self-defense, safety, taking a car home instead of the Red Line at midnight, and having a doorman. And while I think you do have to be aware and cautious (regardless of gender), I think that things that once classified men as gentlemen like walking or driving me home are nice, but quite unnecessary (unless I’m wearing stilettos and it’s 0 degrees).

I don’t feel the need to be bailed out by my parents or to spend my nights in the Viagra Triangle trying to marry rich (and unfortunately, old). I’m more concerned about having dreams and making plans and thinking about educating myself on 401ks and stocks and being business savvy. I don’t look to men as lovers, but rather mentors.

I realize that as one female entrepreneur told me, “There’s nothing better than having your own money.”

It’s really nice that we as women don’t have to subscribe to a system where we are the weaker sex, dependent on men to find us pretty enough and competent in chores and cooking to marry. I love the idea of marriage and being a wife, but I also understand that I might not find my prince charming, and I don’t have to make that my mission in life.

I’m thankful that I have women and men who paved the road to the independence I have had for the past four years in Chicago.

What is International Women’s Day?

This year, given the drastic political changes and the ongoing fight about government funding of Planned Parenthood and on a broader spectrum, how to handle health care in America, many women have chosen to wear red and march for a bigger statement – A Day Without Women. This campaign is from the same infamous leaders and organizers of the Women’s March on Washington this January.

The Day Without Women is to show what it would be like without women. Women were encouraged to take the day off so people would see the effects. 

What Does It Mean?

But this year is also about “Women in the Changing World of Work,” which highlights the accomplishments of women in the workplace, but also how much further that we have to go for equal representation. The need for women’s rights in the workplace has been recently fueled by viral letters like ex-Uber, Susan J. Fowler. 

So, I want to leave you with this quote:

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” a famous quote from journalist Gloria Steinem.

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