Here's To Women
As this past week featured International Women's Day (and Female Football Week!), I wanted to write about some of the women who I think are bloomin' fantastic and why celebrating women is important in the first place. Get a cuppa, there's a whole lot of Lady Love here!!!
The inspiration of women
This is a bit of an emosh and personal post but I can't talk about women without sharing the ones that constantly inspire and challenge me to be the best version of myself. Perhaps this will prompt you to think of the women in your own life who do the same (or at least provide some anecdotal amusement).
Yes this might be cliché and yes I’m probably biased, but my mum is the kindest, most generous and most forgiving person I know. She has managed to shower my sisters and I in endless support, encouragement and love, despite the many enduring hardships and curve balls life has thrown at her. Anyone else get older and appreciate their parent(s) even more!? She has taught me so much that it’s hard to know where to start really – how it’s ok to not have your life planned out, why we should care about the world, the power of an individual’s daily choices in their overall happiness, being considerate and respectful of others… these are all things that over time I have absorbed from her as we chat and open up about more than just the “how was your day’s” and “what do you do’s”. She has played a major role in why I have such strong values, why openness in relationships is so important and how being authentic is the happiness bringer, not pleasing everyone else. She is my strongest role model and has an uncanny perceptiveness about boys (what do you mean you knew all along he wasn’t “the one”??). Thanks for always having my back Mum.
Ah, my sisters. They’ve made me laugh, cry, yell, crazy dance, sometimes all at once. We’ve done the classic “borrowingbutreallystealing” each other’s clothes, fought over who gets to play with the Polly Pocket Party Bus first, and giving each other much needed (but sometimes not wanted) advice. One of my favourite ‘sum-up-your-sisters’ stories is when Tom and I were getting a bit more serious and we were having dinner.
Bron: Is he funny?
Mary: Can you wear heels and still be shorter than him?
Mary and Bron together: Marry him.
Even though I’m the eldest and am supposedly the wise one to impart knowledge and good advice on to them (lol), I’ve really learnt a lot from them, especially having confidence in myself and how to banter (still getting the hang of this one…). I can’t imagine life without them. I also have a half sister who is adorable and wonderfully wild – every time I see her I play, laugh and get a boost of self-esteem from all her sweet loving.
My soccer girls.
I must have done something good in a past life because boy oh boy did I stumble upon not just one gem of a gal but a whole bloody treasure chest of them! My move to Melbourne was made so much brighter and smoother because of a bunch of ladies who welcomed me into their team so warmly. Yes we have the common love of a sport, but more importantly to me is the kindness, encouragement, support, smiles and FUN these girls bring me each week. They are absolute babes (again I come back to asking how I landed such good-looking AND intelligent friends!?), who ~still~ love me despite my rambling tendencies, drunken fence climbing and steaming hair post-training (if you know, you know). Every single one of them brings something unique and awesome to the field (we-play-soccer-so-field-instead-of-table-yep-ok-you-get-me-trying-to-be-smart. Moving on). If I go into names I’m going to get all teary so just know that I love you all!
The plight of women
While celebrating the women in our lives is awesome, International Women’s Day also serves as a reminder about the disparities and inequalities that do still exist, everyday, around the world. Though we may have choices and equity in our personal lives, there are many that do not. The gift of feminism as a philosophy is the recognition that women have equal value and equal rights as men. There will always be famous names of note who share inspiring messages with us (Holla at Michelle Obama, what a laday), but the everyday trailblazers that set examples for us to follow, that educate us that challenge us… this is where WE make the difference. The infinite roles women play in each other’s lives – this is where we have power within our own contexts to speak against prejudices and lift each other up.
One of the old definitions of friendship is a place of high safety. Female friendships can provide us with loyalty and support in times of struggle, laughter and joy in times of celebration. Uniting together rather than competing or speaking negatively is one of the most powerful tools we have – not to be complacent, to speak up at opportunities and name the things we see or hear and encourage one another in this! Otherwise our tolerance becomes a perpetual cycle. Let’s not be desensitised to these issues or settle for a tolerance of inequality.
Yes we can feel overwhelmed by the enormity of inequality on a global scale; but we ALL have the power to encourage each other as women, to praise each other for doing the best we can, and to practise gratitude for the privileged lives we lead. My mum catches buckets of our laundry water and pops it on our plants rather than down the drain – this is of course environmentally conscious, but she also made a great point yesterday that she uses this as a moment to spare a thought for the women who have to walk such a long way to get water at all. We can all benefit from sparing a thought for the women who don't get access to clean water, for the women who don't get a pay cheque, for the women who don't have the choice of education. These small thoughts don’t go astray – the energy you put out into the world reflects your internal dialogue and in turn your interactions with the people around you (both men and women).
If you'd like some more Lady Love, check out some of my favourite books that are by, for or about women (that aren't your typical go-to's like Eat Pray Love):
Succulent Wild Woman: The most empowering book I've ever read. Sark is uplifting, inspiring and funny in a not-really-self-help-book-but-it's-not-fiction-either kind of way. It's the kind of book that once you have it you'll keep it forever because it's always going to be great to refer back to. 'Dance with your wonderful self' is the byline and it was given to me by my mum, so of course I love it.
A Thousand Splendid Suns: Both heart-breaking and beautiful, this is a raw story of female friendship forged under terrible circumstance amidst war in Afghanistan. It really captures joy and saddness, as well as highlighting the difficulties women face both within and beyond their control. I haven't met anyone that didn't find this a powerful read. Highly recommend.
The F Word: I've only just started this one, but I'm already loving it's celebration of female friendships, and how to navigate/understand tricky ones. Lily writes from personal experience and is really genuine. Bonus points for a beautiful cover.
The Working Woman’s Handbook: I'm not normally one for self-help books and they're often a bit same-y/not based on actual evidence, but this one is an exception. It's full of really practical and helpful suggestions around creating a working life you love, as well as a scattering of interviews with some really cool women from all different kinds of jobs. You can also write in it or photocopy pages to write on which is super helpful.
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants: Go ahead and tease me for including this, but it's such a great fictional novel about female friends. Yes it's a bit corny, but each character is so relatable at one point and I read this series over and over in high school... read it again more recently and still loved it (If you've read it - I always wanted to be Bridget, but was more often Carmen). A light but very feel-good read.