According to the International Women’s Day (2022) website, the day “is a global day about celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.” For me, the celebration can be summarized in a word, courage.
Women have, rightfully, fought hard over many years to be treated as equal to men or to make valuable contributions to the world. There are many, many stories of the successes of women and their remarkability. I would encourage everyone to check out the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (along with the full collection), which have been a family hit and learning experience for us. The books are full of great triumphs – and the series also covers minorities and males too. Although I have two daughters, we also have the Rebel Boys books too – who said girls can’t do everything boys can…
However, there are also personal stories of triumph, not as remarkable as those in story books, for which I say the celebration is about courage. I recall many family chats about how my grandmother was to stay at home and take care of her parents, as she was the last born. Maybe others had the same situation in their family? It took great courage for her to stand up and say that wasn’t correct and to go her own way. Or, the courage of my mother to stand-up and say that she wanted to study at university. Which my grandparents saw no need to support because a female was to stay at home and take care of the family and house. (Yes, she did study at university, while raising a family, and took male dominated IT business classes). And, I’ll save all the stories about the courage of my wife for different talks as it could be a long day then.
In 1903, women were allowed to study in Germany. In 2020, 52.5% of students beginning their studies at universities in Germany were female, which is greater than the 50.7% female population (statista.com, 2022). Take a look around at MBS – I see lots of courage. Look at how many female students we have – excellent. Look at how many female Professors we have – excellent. In addition, it is great to witness such high female numbers because I know it takes a lot of courage to succeed in businesses where it is very common to see “white male dominance”. Life has shown me that for females to reach leadership, upper managerial, and Professor roles and succeed in them, they have had to work harder than average. And, the continued expansion of females, minorities, other often overlooked people is great as it improves everyone’s learning.
When reflecting back on managers/employers who have impacted my life, most of them were female. Combining this with the courage of female family members, celebrating International Women’s Day is important to me. Further, it is also a celebration of minorities, diversity, and overall courage by all to stand for what is correct in the world, make contributions, have a positive influence and motivate others, as well as making a difference in the experiences and world view of others.
I once read that the difference between professional success and failure is someone taking a chance on you. Isn’t what we all want is a chance? The theme of International Women’s Day this year is “Break the Bias”, and in order to do so we have to take action. So, who have you taken a chance on? Have you taken a chance on someone who is not like you? Furthermore, have you offered support to help them succeed? You can also show your support with the colors purple, green, and white for this year’s celebration.
PS: I look forward to continued support in recognizing and taking chances on others – let’s help others learn about ways to make a difference and promote Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion topics.
- International Women’s Day (2022). About International Women’s Day. (Retrieved March 3, 2022)
- statista.com (2022). Frauenanteile an Hochschulen bis 2020. (Retrieved March 3, 2022)
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