Thinking of all the awesome women and future women out there today!
Today is International Women’s Day and for me it is a day that sums up a lot of the challenge of life at present. It is a day to hold onto both grief and hope. It is about recognising the things that have been hard: the challenges, the injustice and the unfairness; whilst still allowing for recognition of the progress that has been made. It is important to validate the feelings of loss and anger for what has gone on, as well as encouraging the feelings of hope and excitement for what comes next.
We know that change can happen. So I am choosing to challenge inequality when I see it.
This echoes my feelings for young people at present as we face the ongoing challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, it pretty much fits my feelings for young people in general, although the pandemic has brought these into sharper focus. I am constantly bombarded with stories from young people of incredibly challenging experiences they have had and their frustrations and anxieties. But every single young person I have worked with has something interesting to say about the world and something to give, even the young people who are currently struggling with a cloud of depression that doesn’t want them to be able to see a future at all.
The Girl Guide Association publishes an annual Girl’s Attitude Survey and it is a fascinating insight into their everyday experience. In 2020 over 2000 girls and women aged 11-21 responded to the survey and their responses highlight the two positions of acknowledging loss and holding onto hope. They have experience of challenges (73% say more needs to be done to encourage equality between men and women in politics), of feeling under pressure (80% say they have considered changing their appearance) and of feeling unheard (less than half of 11-21 year old young women say they feel they can be themselves wherever they go). However, they also have ideas, they have hopes and suggestions for changes they want to see.
For this International Women’s Day I want to offer my support to the amazing women and future women out there who are challenging the things that are wrong and are coming up with new ways make change happen. Go get it girls!
With best wishes,
Dr Helen Care, Clinical Psychologist at A Confident Start