On this International Women's Day, let's take a moment to celebrate all women and girls who have influenced us to become who we are or whom we aspire to be. Our role models may include mothers and grandmothers, teachers and coaches, national and international figures, and even our own daughters but I hope that it can also include so many others who have somehow crossed our paths, young or old, living or not who have helped us reflect on ourselves, our purpose, and the energy or kindness that we put out into the world. It can give us new perspective to remember that our human connection is what makes us capable of resilience.
Though I'm reminded of several women who have been highlighted recently in the media because of their leadership roles advocating for gender and racial equity in education or art such as Malala Yousafzai or Jane Fonda, I'm particularly reflective today of a young woman named Courtney Yoder. I learned of her story on last night's 60 Minutes episode on the disparities of economic recovery during COVID. Courtney is 23 and has just had her first baby while navigating homelessness, hunger, and low-earning work. You can see the segment here. Had I not learned about some of her struggles, which included navigating the foster care system since she was 3 years old and thoughts of taking her own life when she couldn't find shelter, food, or income, I might have looked at her young, innocent, and sometimes smiling face and not given a deeper thought to the amount of inner strength, courage, and persistence that she had to summon just to be alive. It's very possible that if Courtney had not had to think about the welfare of her unborn baby, she may have given up all hope.
I'm also reminded of Breonna Taylor and all the possibilities her life would have presented her had it not been cut short. Or the young woman who lost her fiance to COVID just before their wedding day who will never return to "normal" even at the end of this pandemic. Or the countless female doctors, nurses, grocery workers, who cannot take a day off. So, today, I hope we take time to think about not only the women who are near and dear or internationally known who have influenced us but also those whom we do not know who have somehow touched our humanity so that we may become better women in both our personal, professional, and civic lives.
I hope that we can remember to be kind to each other, offer gratitude for what the day has offered us and what we have been able to offer, and always start with a kind word and thought toward our fellow human beings without negative judgement. We know not all of what each of us is carrying behind our smiles.
I teach people how to uncover the wisdom they already carry to get new perspective on their parenting, health, and work with children and families. If you would like to feel less stressed, more confident, and happier in the way you parent, teach, lead, or live your life, GETnewperspective with me now.
To your health!
Anastasia Galanopoulos, Ph.D. Parent, Educator, Health Activist. A note about my signature. When I first started teaching at Wheelock College, one of my first students with whom I still keep contact, started referring to me as Dr. G. In the affectionate spirit of its tone, I adopt that nickname here.