By Monineath Bunyay
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.
As a young woman and a fellow citizen of this loving world, International Women’s day plays a huge role in my life and I am sure it goes the same for all women as well. Living in a country where sexist stereotypes was once oh-so-common, I have heard stories of how women were not allowed to this or that because we were seen as inferior to men. We were kept from going to school, because “housework is solely women’s job.” We weren’t allowed to get into law or medical school because the jobs that would result from the studies are “men’s job.” I am sure glad to be in the 21st century, where those stereotypes are not so common anymore, as we have proven that capability is, too, within our reach. Of course we can cook good food, but we can also be amazing lawyers or martial artists. Women now serve as presidents, big business owners, military generals; all this to break the glass ceiling of historical stereotypes.
I compare women’s role in the eyes of society not so long ago with an individual little rock, lying helplessly somewhere deep in the forest, stuck under a small pond, which could not do anything but to stay in the shadows of the water. Little did society know that women’s value is much more than that.
Giving credit to my history class, World War I was one of the major turning points for the world’s perspective on women, as we were officially acknowledged of being capable of doing what was once considered solely as men’s work. We worked in munition factories, widely contributed in military engineering, and served as nurses in the most dangerous trenches. It was then it was recognized that women “weren’t so weak after all”. Well, we never were and never will be.
Women are strong individuals, strong enough to carry another human being inside her body for an average of 9 months, strong enough to handle extremely painful monthly cramps, and strong enough to prove to the world that we are strong enough.
To me personally, I am thankful for the annual International Women’s day on March the 8th, because it marks a special day on the calendar, a day that reminds the world of how special women are, how we deserve equal rights as men because we are indeed capable.
Originally posted on Thursday, March 9, 2017