I have tolerated a lot of bad behaviour in my life.
I have had men hit on me with the promise to support my career if I slept with them.
I have had men offer money for sex, because I was standing in a hotel lobby by myself or walking down the street at night.
I have had men ask me to take notes at a meeting, not because that was my role, but because I was a woman.
I have had men ask me to grab them a coffee, again, not because that was my job, but because I was a woman.
And, I have had men tell me crude jokes, or make suggestive comments on the phone, confident they will not be corrected, abraded, or called out.
Sure, it may seem small potatoes in the big picture of the pressing dangers women face all over the world, everyday. Rape, war, violence against women and female genitalia disfiguration and so many other inhumane practices that do not serve our humanity well.
But, gender based biases where I allow bad behaviour to be the norm, or laugh them off with a wave of my prettily manicured hand and shrug as if to say, “Oh well. Boys will be boys,” does not change anything.
Boys will be boys and they deserve so much more than being the target of women’s ire and disdain.
Thank you Ghandi. We need to BE the change we want to see in the world.
Change depends on our doing the small things and the big things.
Change depends on our not tolerating the innuendoes and the sexual assaults.
Change needs us to speak up in the face of discriminatory practices and to yell out, loud and strong, when faced with attacks on our sex, gender preferences, race and faith.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is: Be Bold for Change!
My #ShePersisted painting for this day is about being brash, loud and bold.
It’s about wearing whatever we want, without fearing reprisal.
It’s about speaking up, without fearing being shut down.
It’s about being bold, without fearing being emblazoned with labels that denigrate our femininity, sexuality and humanity.
Let’s each of us, men and women, rise up in support of our sisters (and brothers too) for whom real life dangers continue to threaten their rights and lives, everyday.
And let’s each of us, men and women, do the small things today that create positive change in our lives, everyday, for everyone.
Let’s stop tolerating bad behaviours. Let’s start doing the right things for one another.