The Women’s March is a direct result of the feelings many women are experiencing during this time in our country: powerless, disrespected, and even threatened. Thousands of people from all backgrounds are coming together, united in the common belief that women’s rights are humans rights. The movement also serves as a much-needed reminder that change can begin with a single voice and all of us have the potential to make a difference. In the words of Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Yes, it is true that women face challenges. We continue to be held to a different standard than our male counterparts, whether it be in the boardroom or our lives at home. Just 19.4% of the 535 seats in Congress are occupied by females and we’ve never had a Madam President. There are fewer female executives and board members, but times are changing. While it’s true that some shifts start at the top, a real transition to equality needs to start with us.
The time has come to become our own role models, to show our daughters and fellow women what we are truly capable of accomplishing. Rosa Parks fought for a whole different kind of equality, but her words remain relevant to this day, “One person can change the world.” Stop bemoaning the circumstances and take action.
If you want to run for office yourself, there are incredible organizations to help you every step of the way, including Women’s Campaign Fund and She Should Run. Get involved with your community by empowering young girls. Don’t know where to start? Check out She Heroes, Girls Inc, Girls on the Run, and Girls Who Code.
You can even start with something as simple as refusing to give in to gender norms about how women should communicate in the office. Try to take out a few of those exclamation points and filler language from your emails. Empower yourself, say what you mean, and see how others respond.
Even when you feel powerless, know that you can be the change. It is only when we believe ourselves to be helpless against society’s norms or the current situation that we truly become victims. The time has come to end this cycle. Whether on a national scale or within your own life, you are responsible for your own happiness and for changing your circumstances. Decide what is important to you, and do something about it.
Some of us have more challenges to overcome than others, but it doesn’t mean we can’t. Get started. Create your own definition of success. Don’t let other people dictate what you can or can’t do. Take back your power and when someone says you can’t, smile and say “watch me.”