International Women’s Day (IWD), originally called International Working Women’s Day, is celebrated on March 8 every year. In different regions the focus of the celebrations ranges from general celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women for their economic, political and social achievements. An effective Women’s Day was the 1975 Icelandic women’s strike which paved the way for the first female president in the world, Vigdís Finnbogadóttir.
Since Woman’s day is coming up soon I thought I would share the strength about a few empowering and strong women this week that I personally feel have left me with a deep admiration. Women around the world hold different appearances, personalities, religions and careers but what binds us together is the commonality of our gender. Though I’ve had moments where I’ve felt like being a male would just be easier in life I have a massive appreciation for being female – I mean we are held together by the fact that we know we are taken for granted! Solidarity speaks volumes and it’s something that’s part of society on a global scale. I want to make a small step towards that by expressing my gratitude for the strongest women surrounding me.
To kickstart with my “empowering women,” I thought I would start with someone close to home and close to my heart: my oldest sister. Now many of you may know her personally and some may have just heard of her (if you’re a close friend) but she’s been one of the biggest influences in my life. Theres an eight year gap between us but ever since I was young I have always felt attached to her. I always felt that I could be myself around her and communicate with her – of course, she would always keep me in check! You see, my sister has been a driving force in my life, as cliché as it sounds I actually used to say to her as a child, “when I grow up I want to be just like you.”
She is a source of comfort, laughter and protection during moments when I felt scared, sad and uneasy. As a kid growing up, she was always someone whose room I would be inside listening to Craig David, watching animation movies with because she enjoyed them just as much and the person that I thought had the coolest friends. She has taught me everything I know whether it be cooking, cleaning, style, study techniques and even my taste in books and movies. My sister has gone through it all with me; when I need someone to speak to, or support my blog and radio show or just to bounce thoughts with she would be there.
Now, no real relationship is ever without fights and ours has seen its fair share – some during which lead me to feel like it was a very dark period. As the saying goes, “what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger,” well so did our bond. We grew to understand one another after time and my respect for her blossomed once more. Some siblings would usually insist on respect because of their age, initially it felt like that’s what is expected of me, but as I grew older I realised how much admiration I had for her just by being the person she is.
She has been through a lot throughout her life – good and bad. Now, I won’t go in to detail but I will mention the top 5 qualities, in my opinion, that have moulded her into the woman she is:
1. She is hardworking – from a young age she has maintained the best results whether it be through her education, work or in daily aspects. She has worked really hard to get to where she is, at one point she was the first woman in my immediate family to have attained a degree – that even a Master’s degree at one of the best universities in the UK. This paid off as she has gained jobs at the world’s most reputable businesses. Her work ethic is one which I have felt encouraged to try to push myself towards and I only hope one day to achieve.
2. She is resilient – now a woman would not be strong without jumping over a lot of hurdles – well, my sister has. There have been times when I have seen her have to hide her feelings or pain for the sake of not hurting those around her. She has had to look after me at times when a teenager really shouldn’t have to because of circumstances out of our control. She has endured a lot of battles and regardless of what has come her way she has shown nothing but strength. I always ask her, “how are you so composed because I would just burst into tears?” and she would say she isn’t calm but she shows that she is because “you never show people your reaction.”
3. She is fair – the times I have complained about fickle things and she has set me straight in a span of minutes! My sister is empathetic in the sense that she will listen and hear you out but no matter what or who you are she will be just. So if I am wrong she will be blunt and call a spade a spade and when I am right, she will also commend when necessary – moderately of course (she knows I have a big head).
4. She is fun – regardless of what age group you are she can adapt whether it be 7 or 70. She has always taken the time out with me and our younger cousins to do things despite our age gap. She would even take me to watch Lilo & Stitch in the cinema, or buy me ice cream even when she didn’t have to. She would make a boring, sunny afternoon entertaining by sitting in the car and listening to her iPod all afternoon till the car battery went flat! When I would sing karaoke she would be by my side singing Celine Dion songs even though I was only 11 – seriously there’s not enough pages in the world that could fill how amusing she can be.
5. She is loving – I think a lot of what she has been through proves that underneath it all she is a compassionate woman. I am pretty sure majority of the women out there possess this quality but it’s the way each individual woman carries it that speaks for them. My sister has always been the type to show love – whether it be indirectly through gifts, actions or even her words. My fondest memory of her was my 16th birthday: our parents had gone to South Africa and it was also my birthday, so before bed she made me hot chocolate with mini marshmallows, brought me my favourite chocolate cupcake with a candle and sang to me. That gesture was one of the kindest and most caring things she could have done for me that day and I am truly grateful for it. I am pretty sure she will be thinking when she reads this, “wow I did that? I can’t even remember!” It just goes to show how even the slightest of genuine gestures she did, were so natural that they could be hard to remember due to their consistency.
So there you have it, a somewhat brief synopsis as to why my sister is one of the most amazing and brilliant women in the world. She deserves to be appreciated today and every other day. So if any of you readers out there have anything close to this whether it be sister, grandmother, aunt, best friend then do share it with me and count yourselves truly lucky!
Happy women’s week everyone! Appreciate the remarkable women around you for all that they do and for all that they don’t (it’s always with good reason, trust me!)
Stay tuned for more of my empowering women blogs this week.