Georgina Scholtens-Day talks about the progress women have made in society and why we need to go even further for our International Women’s Day special
Dearest ladies, when asked to reflect on myself as a female in the workforce, I thought about how lucky I am to be girl, how far we’ve come.
Last year was a year of recompense for us girls; a year of transparency, visibility, honesty and integrity. The last few years have focused on women: what it means to be a woman at work, do you want to put your head down and force prudence in order to prove a point that we can do it too? Or do you want to pursue Mother Nature’s intended path of procreation? Why do we have to choose? I’m no staunch feminist, but I’m also not one to roll over to let someone scratch my tummy either. What about the excitement that is available to us?
Lest we forget, the word ‘diva’ originally translates from Latin as ‘goddess’, meant only as a woman of exceptional glamour and talent. The pure wonder of nature and the confidence that we can still enjoy the diversity of the modern workforce? Can we have our cake and eat it too? I choose that path.
Fashion has an enchanting power that allows us to play with the persona we wake up with in the morning; demure, delight or diva. From the Shakespearean method of dressing as a gallant servant, stuffing our trousers to prove we are worthy of an opinion to modern androgyny, we can decide everyday which image we want to portray.
Our sphere of influence extends beyond our parents or our neighbours to a world far away – film, dance, music and art (oh, and don’t forget Instagram!) – the multitude of images we consume on a daily basis has changed the way we see the world. As we learn as a species to indulge in diversity, my hope for our generation is that we explore the creativity that has been made possible for us by our forefathers (and mothers!) and that we remain authentic to the people we are, taking care of the planet, loving those whom we choose to love and pursuing happiness for ourselves in what we do and the people we have become.
Quite apart from our clothes, technology has a large part to play in the power we have obtained in the past 15 or so years. Social media, for all its faults, has enabled connection, education and curiosity about critical movements in society, which has allowed us to question the status quo and make change. The result of this whirlwind of information has forced us to embrace the very concept of our existence – more people are following the extinction of animals, climate change and a fair and equal society is no exception.
Now, everyone has a voice. An uncensored, unadulterated opinion which has given rise to everyone who wants to publicly display a point of view (and their breakfast!), it’s brought empowerment to many issues and many women. Don’t presume I mean for all gallantry to disappear into the abyss, it’s why we love you boys, otherwise we could do it alone.
There are wonderful sides to allowing a man to be a gentleman, the differences between the sexes are what makes our existence so interesting. The different physical and mental makeup of the human race form the essence of diversity and culture – a true magic of planet Earth.
The fairer sex, as we were, and sometimes are still known as is not derogatory in my eyes. Can we see it as an ability to be in tune with feelings, to multitask, to trust your gut instinct and fearlessly activate other people’s potential to give, love and survive? To push the envelope on new ideas whilst still being able to articulate and tell him (or her) what you really mean? Come on ladies, you know what I’m talking about…cue Alanis Morissette’s You Oughta Know. Enhanced emotional intelligence has a direct impact on our ability to lead the world’s greatest organisations, does it not? Embrace femininity. In the words of Helen Reddy: “I am woman”.
I wish the very best to all ladies.
Happy International Women’s Day. Live, love and laugh.