International Women's Day: What It Means to Me

Friday, March 8, 2019

"Here's to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them." 

I'm sure you've been seeing this quote a lot today, on this International Women's Day. It's a good one, right? I've been so fortunate to know the influence of strong women in my life. My grandmothers: one of whom immigrated to this country and started completely anew in a strange land while raising seven unbelievable children, and the other who was a quiet yet unbelievably steady pillar of strength for her family until the day she died. In fact, it was in her final days when she would have had every right to show fear that my mother's mother comforted me as I, nine months pregnant, cried at her hospital bed. I can't imagine the strength that must have taken, but I've tried to recall it in challenging moments ever since.

My own mother is literally the definition of strength in my eyes. Her entire life, she has always strived to do the right thing. She has always empathized with and stood up for the underdog. She somehow found the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other when she suddenly lost her husband and was faced with raising two young kids on her own. And she always showed up. She always let us know we were loved and gave us every single opportunity that she could to succeed. 

I could go on and on, from my mother-in-law who works as a scientist in a male-dominated field and raised my husband to deeply respect and work best alongside women, to my incredible aunts who have fought their own battles - from cancer to heartbreak - and have emerged even stronger, to my sister-in-law, friends, and colleagues who know what it is to lift one another up. 

Oh yes, I've known strong women.

I know that they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, from all different types of upbringings, with all different kinds of interests and passions and goals, and I've learned that they don't always roar. Sometimes, the strongest women I've known radiate a quiet strength, one that is unspoken but also unquestioned. Don't get me wrong, roaring is great and sometimes necessary, but a strong woman doesn't fit any mold.

And when it comes to raising strong women, I still can't believe I've been given the opportunity to raise two of them. What a privilege it is for me to raise daughters. I think all the time about the things I most want to teach them, the things I hope to instill in them. They are forces, already. Smart, strong, brave, inquisitive, innovative, kind, loving, compassionate. I want them to always know their worth, without question. Self-confidence isn't the same thing as selfishness, and it often doesn't look as we would expect it to. It's the unwavering belief in who we are and where we come from that centers us when waters get choppy. It's the inner strength that we turn to when others are cruel, and it's the very thing that allows us to cheer others on -- especially other women. My girls have such a strong sense of sisterhood already, and having not grown up with a sister myself, it's been really special to witness. I wish for them to bring the same love, respect, and care to their friendships with women, and someday to their mentees, and maybe even their own daughters.

Let's continue to root for each other. Let's continue to change the world.


  1. Such a beautiful post and it's amazing the wonderful and strong women who have helped shape you!! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston


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