It would be tempting to simply use International Women's Day as an opportunity to list the ongoing challenges facing women. It could be easy to focus on the struggles women still face to gain an education in some parts of the world, to remain safe from partners and ex-partners in Australia, to feel confident and proud of their bodies and their achievements, to feel hopeful about the future. There's plenty of articles about those things already.
So let's look at celebrating what women offer the world - recognizing that once women can more fully and equally contribute in society, the world must simply become a better place.
Women, for example, are often the ones who care for children and the elderly. They value the importance of caring, they understand the need to nurture each other, to connect emotionally and be there for each other. This is not of course to say that men don't do this, or can't do this, but this role is typically filled by women. If we have a society where men value this and do this more the world would be a better place.
Many women have been able to do things despite the struggles. If we look at female politicians in Australia for example in recent years, we can see more of them now who have been able to find a way, their own way, to take on the political world. A world which has largely been dominated by males, males who had the freedom to live out their careers, regardless of whether they have children, being able to commit to the demands of the job. Women are now starting to come into their own and show leadership and great skill in negotiating world and local issues with compassion and ability.
Women are now starting to name some of the experiences which have happened to them. When women stick together, sharing their experiences and listening to each other, they can become a united force. It is this force which then can create change for the future, which can challenge structures and belief systems that are wrong and damaging. Women are using social networking to gain a voice, to promote causes and highlight what's not working but also what could be.
So this International Women's Day let's celebrate ourselves, our own struggles and capacities, recognize what we bring to the world. Let's give voice to the women's voices we don't usually hear, let's see the strengths and abilities. Once we appreciate that we can then keep working on making the world a better place. Let's make sure we find ways to bring men along with us on that journey.