Happy International Women's Day 2022
International Women's Day is always special to me, not just because I am a women who loves celebrating other women, but because it's also my sisters birthday. I grew up in a family of women with passionate and driven sisters and a mother who is quite possibly the strongest human-being I've ever known. I was raised knowing and believing that women were brilliant and kind and generous and strong and that was demonstrated to me each and every day through my family.
This International Women's day is particularly special to me as my beautiful and amazing cousin just welcomed the newest woman into our family yesterday (we have a lot of March birthdays). Having spent all day yesterday glued to my phone, awaiting the news of baby girls imminent arrival, I was reminded once again of the strength of women. The ability to grow and nurture life is something that is uniquely feminine and it requires a determination, inner fortitude and love that transcends even the most difficult of situations.
There is no "right" or "wrong" way to be a women, there is no rule book and every single woman is an asset to our society. Whether they choose to be a CEO or a teacher, whether they have children or don't and whether they decide to express themselves in a feminine or masculine way, each and every woman is beautiful and courageous. But what does this have to do with the Royals? The Women in the Royal family are perhaps some of the most scrutinized of our gender the world over but they also demonstrate the incredible strength of women.
When she became monarch, the Queen was told she was too young and inexperienced, there was doubt about whether she could ever be a truly great leader. While the thinly veiled misogyny was more typical seventy years ago, the Queen has made her femininity a strength that is now revered the world over. I think it's safe to say she has proven all of the naysayers wrong time and time again over the last seventy years.
Camilla has been criticised for her looks for years, given cruel and inhuman nicknames for not fitting a narrow and small-minded version of beauty. While society tries to make us believe that those who don't look like the photoshopped stars on the magazine covers are somehow "less than"or "unworth" the Duchess of Cornwall has proven her worth through her dedication and hard work. She has focused on her passions, found causes where she can make a real impact and has become an invaluable asset to the Royal Family.
In a blatant one-eighty and with the express goal of discrediting her, The Duchess of Cambridge has been criticised for being "too feminine" and embodying too many of the traits of "traditional women". She prioritized relationships over her career in her twenties and prioritized motherhood over her public role in her thirties. She has never put a foot wrong and yet she is criticized as that makes her "too perfect" and "unapproachable". However, over the last two decades, Catherine's work, quiet dignity and unwavering dedication has exposed those criticisms for what they are: attacks on her character based squarely in sexism. She is a phenomenal mother, a loving wife, a dedicated public servant and a woman who knows who she truly is, something that terrifies misogynists.
While (luckily) Princess Charlotte has yet to endure the "special" brand of public media scrutiny reserved only for women, it will no doubt come. The most important thing to remember when it does, is to be vocal in support and expressly call out the unfair treatment women face. It is up to fans to change the media's behavior around women in the public sphere and hold them to account when it is so clearly biased, not just for Princess Charlotte but for all women of the next generation of royals, whoever they may be.
The women in the royal family are in an incredibly unique situation. If there is no rule book or how-to guide on managing life as a women, then there is certainly no guide for the royals except one another. The Queen has privately passed down over eight decades of wisdom to the younger generations, and they will do the same for the women to come because that is what women do. We support one another in the best ways we know how. We build one another up and inspire confidence in order to help all women advance towards a more equitable and peaceful society.
This International Women's Day, I would be remiss not to mention the women in Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, South Africa and the world over who are fighting each and everyday for a better world, not only for themselves or their children but for every single person on this planet. The evil of one Russian man will never be able to quell the strength, resilience and dedication of every Ukrainian woman and the brave Russian women who are standing with their sisters against his tyranny.
To all woman, whoever you are and whatever your background, today is for you. Let's all pay tribute to the woman who have come before, celebrate the ladies who continue to inspire us today and lift up the girls who will make all of our futures brighter tomorrow. Happy International Women's Day!