where insight unravels
This year I got to contribute to the International Women's Day campaign by the Women's and Gender Studies Department at Acadia University. Here's my reflection:
For me International Women's Day is a day of reflection and action. I take this opportunity to reflect on where I see, experience, and perpetuate patterns of inequality and disparity based on gender identification. This day is a reminder for me to explore the internalized patterns that inform how I think and act as a woman in my family and community. Often these patterns are strategies of safety and personal gain and they are so ingrained I barely notice them. However, they are also outdated, and if the resulting behaviour or action only benefits me and not our whole society, that behaviour or action needs to be examined. So on this day I recommit to asking those hard questions about what I gain from perpetuating my internalized assumptions and habituated behaviours and face the emotional and physical consequences of changing them.
I believe that choosing to challenge starts on the inside. I can only influence systemic change when I have challenged and changed my own assumptions and patterns, which can be an uncomfortable experience. However, I have a responsibility to evolve the way I see and interact in the world to not only support equality but generate a new way of collaboration and interaction between and among genders. I draw on my courage and bravery to commit to stepping into the new, unknown territory that change and growth inevitably reveal.
My work helps people rediscover their inherent self worth so they can stop basing their self esteem on how well they serve others, which often means putting themselves last. This inner value and confidence, which everybody has but may not access, is the foundation of the courage and bravery necessary to choose to challenge and responsibly change how we think, feel and act. This is where sustainable growth begins. Inner self worth enables our choice to take a step into the unknown as we move beyond our current understandings and operating systems to affect change inside ourselves as well as within our families and communities.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
Occasionally Erica manages to capture her bursts of inspiration in writing - you'll find them here.