Oby, a member of the SelfharmUK training team helps us think about and celebrate International Women's Day 2017.

I love celebrating International Women’s Day every year, as it allows us to recognise the progress and achievements made towards women’s rights all over the world. At the same time it reminds me that there is still much more to be done.  Last week I went to the cinema to see the film Hidden Figures” a story of three unsung African-American female heroes, who were instrumental in NASA’s mission to get astronaut John Glen to orbit the Earth.

It was a reminder for me that 55 years ago, some of the opportunities I enjoy now were unfathomable to women back then.  At the same time I realise that had it not been for women choosing to fight against inequality and injustice, I would not have the opportunities I have now.
I left the movie feeling inspired, with a drive to do my part in making a difference. The theme for International Women’s Day couldn’t be more apt in summing up my feelings as I left the movie theatre last Friday - “Be Bold for Change”.  As an individual, a woman, who has a regular job and life, it would be so easy to view change as something bigger and more powerful than me. But the movie made me see that all I am required to do is my part, in being bold for change. My efforts little as they may seem can make a huge difference to one person’s life, which can snowball into a much wider, perhaps even global, and generational change. But first I have to start with one small change.

With this in mind, Being Bold for Change is about being intentional, fighting my own indifference and passivity towards causes which may not directly affect me. It is about the bigger picture.  For example, I could start up an initiative or social action in my school or workplace to promote awareness for a female cause. I could foster an attitude of collaboration rather than competitiveness with my friends, school mates and colleagues. I could be a mentor or buddy to a younger girl who needs support and friendship, I could speak up against sexist and derogatory attitudes and behaviours against females or I could volunteer for a charity that supports female causes. We all have skills and experiences which we could put to good use in helping others and making change happen.

So perhaps today would be a good day to ask yourself the question, how can I be Bold for Change? 

Meanwhile here are a few facts and stats about women:

  • According to the World Health Organisation one in three women worldwide will experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • In England and Wales alone, two women are killed every week by a current or former partner.
  • The World Economic Forum predicts that the global gender pay gap won't close until 2186.
  • Every 90 seconds somewhere in the world, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth.
  • Only 48 women have been awarded Nobel Prizes compared with 822 men.
  • Around the world, women are paid less than men, in most countries earning on average 60%-75% of men's wages (World Bank Gender Data Portal, 2015).

Oby Bamidele (MBACP) is a counsellor and coach with a passion for helping people build emotional resilience and inner resources to overcome mental health and life challenges.
web: www.obybamidele.com
website: www.wisegate-schoolcounselling.co.uk

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