He married a remarkable and loving woman whose mother was a widow and also a strong, intelligent working woman. Their union was a true partnership in every way and resulted in four daughters and one son. We were all raised to understand that you never know what life may bring your way. You needed to have an education and a career path. With his daughters, our father impressed upon us that our well-reasoned thoughts and opinions were as valid as any other person's, regardless of race, gender or social station.
We were raised to believe that women and men are equal but different. There are distinct, physical differences that cannot be overlooked. Women are the ones who become pregnant and give birth to the next generation. This certainly does not make us the "weaker sex" - far from it. But it saddens me when I see a gentleman berated for holding a door open for a woman. Unless it is done with a sneer and an ogle, it should be taken as a sign of simple courtesy, not a sign that women cannot handle this simple task for themselves. I have held the door open for men whose hands are full!
Men are not the problem. Men who are narcissists, men who are insecure when faced with a stance that differs from their opinion, men who are uneducated and thus believe that gender (or skin colour or race or religion) make you less valuable to the human race - they are the problem. I've also encountered women who are a part of the problem - women who belittle other women who choose a career path or who choose to stay home to raise their children; women who mock and ridicule other women for their appearance and thus foster the stereotype that appearance is more important than a person's mind, heart or soul.
I listened to a discussion today about whether or not women identify as feminists in this day and age, depending perhaps on their political persuasion. In my mind, all genders can be feminist if they believe in equal rights for everyone, equal pay for equal work, and equal opportunities for advancement in careers and in life. Gloria Steinem stated, "The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organisation but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights."
Today is International Women's Day. On this day, and on every day moving forward from today, let's respect one another and treat one another with dignity, compassion and as equals regardless of gender, race, religion or income. Let us all join forces to put an end to biased behaviour.