International Women's Day is dedicated to honoring the achievements of women throughout history and from all across the globe. Typically it's a day for women from all different backgrounds and cultures to come together to fight for gender parity and women's rights. It's also a time to reflect on how far we, as women, have come over the years in being treated more as equals and less as stereotypes.

I’m sat here thinking what International Women's Day means to me and to my children. I asked both my sons—who work in the building industry—what it means to them, and their answers really shocked me for two reasons:  

  1. They didn't understand why we had to have a particular day to celebrate. “Surely it should be an every day thing and that we should all be equal?” I found this response to be kind of ironic, as #EachForEqual is the hashtag that International Women's Day chose this year.
  2. They had so much support, respect, and understanding, even though they admitted they didn't know much about the history. I felt very proud to be their mother, and even prouder to call them my sons.

Flicking through old photos of my grandma, I’ve been thinking about how lucky and fortunate I am and how far we have all come. Diversity in the workplace is ever-changing, and as the years whizz by, hopefully my daughter (and yours) will reap the benefits. 

What Does International Women’s Day Mean to You?

Now let me ask you (yes you, blog reader), what does International Women's Day mean to you? Do you want to thank all those inspirational women who gave so much? Or do you want to run for the hills?

Looking back over the years, women have overcome, fought, and given so much, and yet we still seem to be fighting in some way or another. Without the willingness of change, or the continual support from our colleagues, peers, sisters, daughters, and wives, we will never be seen as equals. And in 2020, I would like to think we can continue to make a difference!

I asked some of my wonderful female colleagues to send me their most favourite inspirational quotes. So no matter how you choose to celebrate the special women in your life, be sure to share these quotes from some of the most incredible women in history with your amazing girlfriend, wonderful mum, or your ever-doting wife.

"My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs."

— Tara Westover

"In Tara Westover’s autobiography, Educated, she tells of her upbringing in a doomsday-prep, orthodox Christian family. Tara came from life on a farm with no education, no experience in the real-world, and no government records of her existence. Tara’s story of how she came to find her voice and prioritize education in her life is a beautiful ode to the strength of women, even coming from the harshest of circumstances. I admire her courage to not live up to her family’s expectations in order to be true to herself." — Erica Azad, Manager, Marketing Campaigns

“Build the new, don’t just fight the old.”

— Sairee Chahal

"Sairee Chahal is the Founder, CEO of SHEROES, a community platform in India for women, offering support, resources, and opportunities. It was started for acid attack victims. They have cafes in many cities in India called Sheroes Hangouts which are 100% run by acid attack victims." — Preeti Sondhi, Sr. Scrum Master

"Just a lady cheering on other ladies."

"As a single mum of girls, I continually try to teach them that we don’t trample other women to make ourselves feel better." — ​Naomi Rojas, Inside Sales Rep.

"It is never too late to be what you might have been." 

— George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans)

"Because many women are restricted in their lives by social, cultural, or relationship factors, such as starting a family and then being the main caretakers of children or parents etc., their ambitions are put on hold and talents wasted. So the message is that it’s never too late to become whatever it was you dreamed of being before life got in the way." — Sally Hart, Sr. Manager, HR Business Partner

"The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook."

— Julia Child

"It is obviously legend in the food world Julia Child. Not afraid of the limelight or stepping out of her comfort zone, she is a great reminder to live with joyful curiosity regardless of age!" — Inga Kucharzewska, Supervisor, Accounting

"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."

— Marie Curie

"Marie Curie was a French-Polish physicist and the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. During an interview, she was asked how it is to be married to a genius. She replied, 'I don’t know, you need to ask my husband!' Second for me is Frida Kahlo for her interest in the feminist movements." — Alessia Colla, Supervisor, Accounts Payable/Receivable

"Mistakes are not regretted, they are assumed. Fear is not run away, it is overcome. Love does not cry out, it proves itself.’’

— Simone Veil

"A Holocaust survivor, Simone Veil became a crusader for women’s rights and European reconciliation. She was a champion for not only the right of women to control their pregnancies, but also to control their fertility. Her experience in Auschwitz profoundly informed her love for the European project and its construction, with, at its heart, the reconciliation with Germany. In 1979, she was the first woman to be chosen president of the European Parliament. Most of what you probably picture when you think about women and their status in France was at least in some way influenced by Simone Veil." — Aurelie Fargeot, Inside Sales Rep.

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." 

— Judy Garland

"Judy Garland is an icon and a legend who went through so much. The way she was treated as child star would count as child abuse today and her personal life was filled with sorrow and tragedy but she carried herself with grace and dignity (mostly) through every storm she faced. She was always herself she never compromised on that or pretended to be someone else." — Amy Adam, Administrative Support