A distant yet powerful memory comes to mind of the day I heard Mira Nair guest speak at the University of Toronto… Someone in the audience asked her how she manages to write and direct films while having a family and all with such ease? She simply but with conviction answered, “How? Well, I’m a woman it’s what we do.”
Today on International Women’s day I’m inspired to reflect upon the role and responsibilities of raising a girl. A girl, who one day will be a woman.
Being a parent is one of my most important roles. I’ve adopted a “go with the flow” mom routine. I choose not to read every parenting book I can get my hands on, simply in fear that it will hinder and influence my natural instincts. It may not be perfect but it works for me. I want to pass on the simple values given to me by my own parents. In hopes of arming my daughter with strength and confidence while showing her humility and empathy.
My daughter Gia is 7 years old. She is a smart and creative young girl that draws all day! She draws pictures of families playing outdoors with multicoloured pockets and striped detailed shirts. Apparently, she decided on her own that all of their skin should be coloured in with different shades of brown (yaaay brown/poc power!) I am filled with pride when I watch her work. I see a reflection of myself in her at this age. As I was encouraged to grow as an artist, I hope to always to do the same for her while inspiring her to believe in herself and the power that she has to make a mark in this world.
With endless uncertainty in and around the world, politically and otherwise. I feel blessed that my daughter has opportunities many girls can only dream of. I want her to grow up knowing this right and for it to humble her.
I want her to know some things sooner than I did. I want her to know the strength and magnitude of the influence her voice holds. I want her to know that if she dares to speak out, that she will be heard.
I think about her future, I wonder what kind of world she’ll have to face. Will progress be made on fronts that can hold her back? Will she have as many opportunities as her male counterparts or will she be fighting the same fight we are today? Will she know that her voice alone could move mountains or will she be silenced by the fear of being outcasted?
I worry about her vulnerable teenage years and how social media will affect them. I may feel like there isn’t much I can do about it, but it is at those times that I must relentlessly rely on the values and beliefs I have instilled within her. I hope that it will protect her from a world that will continuously try to convince her that she does not already have everything she needs within herself. I pray she knows her worth.
As we all reflect on today, a day for girls, a day for women I know that we all can use a little hope sometimes. That feeling that everything’s going to be okay and that there’s going to be someone there to help make sure of that. I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have by my side than my fellow sisters as allies, friends, inspirations, strength, and so much more to keep fighting this fight. Afterall, STRENGTH is within us, we just need to change how the world perceives our strength.
A hopeful mother, daughter, sister, wife, and businesswoman
“To all the little girls who are watching, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams.” —Hillary Clinton in her 2016 concession speech