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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and Senior Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently studying at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day and though there seems to be a ‘celebrated day’ for everything now, this is the one day that is not like any other. We celebrate this day and honor women who have not only paved our way for a brighter future, but have brought great success and progression to our rights and overall quality of life. Each year on March 8 we take out time to remind ourselves that women not only inspire us, but can and will change the world when given the opportunity.

J. Howard Miller's "We Can Do It!" poster from 1943. Image Credit: United States National Archives and Records Administration

J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It!” poster from 1943. Image Credit: United States National Archives and Records Administration

Growing up is not easy for girls given that we are not always taken seriously. A lot of the time we’re cast into a gender-specific mold, and told to like the color pink, or buy Barbie dolls, or only play with the girls at the playground. However, I have been so fortunate in my twenty some years to be constantly surrounded by beautiful and intellectual women who were strong-minded and genuinely appreciated authenticity and individuality. All of which helped me become a wiser and stronger girl with a balanced life style, while allowing me to appreciate and enjoy everything growing up, including playing with Barbie dolls, Ghostbusters action figures, my Hot Wheels collection, and run around with boys and then come home in my muddy overalls. I got to be the girl I wanted to be by challenging myself. Through it all, I was able to find my strengths and work on my weaknesses thereby helping me to acquire wisdom and motivation by overcoming obstacles. I haven’t always made the best choices in life, but I have made them and I have no regrets because I do believe I am a strong and brave young woman, full of life, love and bright-eyed wonderment.

I have been so lucky in my life to have supportive friends who believe in me and the work I do as well as amazing role models who continue to inspire me to be the woman I want to be. These amazing role models range from my mother who always taught me to be strong, dignified, and stand-up for what’s right and never cry when I fall down; my sister who battled Crohn’s disease one dreadful summer and almost lost her battle but fought back so damn hard because she didn’t want it to own her; my very good friend Laura who fearlessly and bravely travels to foreign countries and zip-lines through jungles; my grade three arts and crafts teacher, Ms. DePinho, who passed away but taught me to think outside the box; Mrs. Muckle, my high school psychology teacher who taught me to follow my dreams and do what I really want to do in order to make a difference and in the process be happy doing it.  Even my favorites like Tina Fey and Nora Ephron, who set a precedent for quality writing and creativity, inspiring a generation of girls to just go out and be yourself.

Such strength and determination run through my fellow peers, and even our very own female writers here at The Hudsucker. All of them in their own capacity work hard to use their voice for good and make a difference in an industry that sometimes conceptualizes the glass ceiling. It was a surprise and an honor when last year three of our female writers including myself were recognized by the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), an organization which is dedicated to strengthening the role of female journalists worldwide and is the epitome of such unyielding support women need when raising their voice and becoming leaders in the news industry. Not only does the organization celebrate and promote up-and-coming women in the journalism field, but they advocate  and press for equality, believing that the news media world is not entirely free and representative without the equal voice of women. The organization also celebrates the courage of women who overcome oppression and threats when speaking out on global issues in hopes of making a difference. It seeks to highlight and remind us that International Women’s Day is not just about celebrating achievements, but calling an end to violence against women, restoring women’s dignity and doing away the inequality they face around the world by using their voice to bring to core the issues and challenges facing women around the world in private and corporate environment.

Women have always sought to voice their concerns for years, but were relegated to the status of second-class citizens for many decades. It wasn’t until the early 1900s, that the idea for International Women’s Day emerged from labor and socialist movements. The official march took place in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland on March 19, 1911 with more than one million women and men attending rallies that campaigned for women’s rights to vote, to work and be trained, including putting an end to discrimination, and be allowed to hold public office. It wasn’t as international the first time around with just the four European nations marching, but these activists were ahead of their time and thought about the future for women’s political and economic inequalities. What they envisioned created a spark in women to strengthen their resolve and project their voice worldwide.

International Women’s Day represents not just the celebration of women and all they have achieved thus far but a movement of change for every woman and girl in this world, no matter where they live and how they live. Last year the world was introduced to Malala Yousafzai, a young girl who inspired a generation of women to stand up and speak up for themselves without fear. The young girl was not just a hero to the many oppressed in a socially ravaged part of the world, but became one of the most influential and talked about people ever after a failed assassination attempt by Taliban soldiers. She became the youngest Nobel Peace Prize nominee in history as she risked her life for access to education and equal rights for young girls worldwide.  Malala fought back and her strength inspired so many to speak up and fight for what is simply a birthright. Man becomes who he is through education and if Malala and 32 million other displaced girls in this world don’t have access to have a rightful education, we’re not just depriving them—we’re depriving ourselves and a future full of countless opportunities and progression that these girls can bring to our quality of life.

It’s been more than 150 years and International Women’s Day is gaining great momentum. Every year thousands of events are held worldwide to celebrate and inspire women to greater achievements and possibilities. There are numerous campaigns taking place around the web marking the day, as it is also now an official holiday in countries like Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The United States has officially declared March as “Women’s History Month” and for good reason; as we are constantly witnessing significant changes and attitudinal shifts with women’s equality and society’s perception of women and their abilities. Women have real choices today and the overall nature of the day has transitioned from being a battle to a celebration of positives and hope that with the progess achieved, more can be done. The advancement of women is of prime importance to our economy and society.

“It is only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on Earth and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up that we will begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it were the only one we had.”

– Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Each one of us can make a difference through our individual and collective strengths and be who you want to be. Individuality is strength and diverse individuality does make a huge difference. If there’s some sort of wisdom I can share with you, it’s to never give up and just keep doing what you must do to get to where you want to be because the secret to getting ahead is simply to get started. Where will you be if you never try? You are able to achieve whatever you wish provided their is a burning desire and passion. International Women’s Day must be a regular and more frequent celebration year round rather than just one month in the year. This should be an ongoing passionate purposeful movement to ensure that our future is not just safe and sound, but equally rewarding and bright for all of us. We should be happy for other women and celebrate their success, seeing as one woman’s success should be every woman’s success. If we keep this in mind, perhaps we may not need to single out just one day in a year to remember them.

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  1. Celebrating International Women’s Day | westlifebunny - March 30, 2013

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