Today we are celebrating all the amazing women in the world and their super powers. International women's day celebrates the wonderful achievements of women and help the world to strive towards a more gender equal world and a world free of stereotypes and discrimination.
I had a wonderful and inspiring visit with a friend today, she is a new mum, incredibly kind human being, child health advocate and health professional... and in between all these responsibilities also inspires others to make the world a cleaner, less wasteful and healthier place. I just love visiting people like her... and off course her handsome young man which is following in his mummy's footsteps :-) Our discussion revolved a bit around the challenges new mum's face when having to go back to work and juggling the responsibilities of work and home life, without dropping a ball somewhere.
This made me think a bit about whether and how children benefit from having a working mum as a role model. When I was a child, I was certainly proud of the fact that my mum was a working mum. As a science teacher and later a business owner her ability to multitask and problem solve certainly inspired my sisters and I. Mum managed an incredible workload between looking after four kids, juggling full time work as a teacher and after hours managing our farm (with the wonderful help of my dad!) We learnt how to prioritise, time manage, solve problems and how to cope with more difficult times. We certainly learnt that we could achieve a lot through determination and hard work, skills which has suited us well in our adult lives.
In our case, the necessities of child care was a big positive for our family and definitely strengthened the social safety net around us. We had the most wonderful daycare family and regarded our "day mum" as the second mum in our lives. She looked after the four of us while my mum was at work, her daughter was an older sister to the rest of us and we definitely copied everything she did - even down to naming our new puppy the same as her favourite teddy bear. We developed a wonderful bond with our daycare family and became lifelong friends.
My own childhood experience was overwhelmingly positive and now as a working mum myself, I belief that the example that I set for my own kids will benefit them as well. The question is whether these experiences are supported by research evidence about gender equality and women empowerment - and the answer is an overwhelming "YES."
Several studies around the world has proven that child well being improves when women are empowered. Health outcomes and nutrition are better, immunisation rates higher, education outcomes better and contraception use increases (which increase women's autonomy and reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies).
Thus, gender equality, apart from being a basic human right, not only improve women's lives, but also the lives of her family and community. Women tend to reinvest more of their income back into their families and are often responsible for funding their children’s education, preparing healthy food and ensuring that their children receive appropriate access to medical care.
So today, on International Women's day, let's celebrate all the working mums, stay at home mums, daycare mums, single mums, surrogate mums and all the other wonderful women, whether a mum or not, who are doing an amazing job at raising the next generation of strong and capable women!
Thank you for everything that you do! Together we are stronger and as per the 2022 theme, can #BreakTheBias.
Imagine a gender equal world.
A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination.
A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.
A world where difference is valued and celebrated.
Together we can forge women's equality.
Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias."