We celebrate a lot of things according to a calendar: birthdays, holidays, International Pancake Day, Veteran's Day, Mother's Day, Black History Month. With a few exceptions, these are typically festive occasions, recognizing personal accomplishments, historical achievements, or the simple good things in life. Social media is usually filled with posts recognizing the event, and we all like, subscribe to, and share similar sentiments.
March observes Women's History Month, with various events and articles highlighting the contributions women have made both in history and contemporary society. This official month is rather recent, having only been passed through the United States Congress in 1987 before it became a popular concept internationally. Currently, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States celebrate Women's History Month in March, coinciding with International Women's Day on March 8; Canada celebrates in October, coinciding with Persons Day on October 18.
This March was a bit different, though. For many of us, it also marked one year since we've been hunkered down in quarantine, making it through one day at a time while fighting various personal demons such as anxiety, depression, and the temptation to drink a bottle of wine every night. There wasn't a lot of recognition of this—at least not shared personally among the general population. How does one mark an occasion which in its nature limits any sort of gathering?
This hasn't been easy for any of us, no matter the family dynamics, income, or savings account balance. Those of us who are here, still making it happen, still supporting each other, or at the very least managing not to destroy ourselves, should be recognized for making it this far. While we may not have accomplished all the things we vowed we would do—when going out to bars, attending concerts, and having large family gatherings had been taken off the table—we have found a way to carry on, support each other, and become (possibly) better people for the adversity.
I'd like to take a special moment to recognize all the working mom's out there, who had to carve out some career space at home while juggling child care and keeping the house running under school closures and months of quarantine. Even with a supportive spouse or the perks of extended family help, I know nothing about this has been easy. Having a home office for years now, the work-from-home environment was no change for me, but I don't know how I'd function with little ones to care for all day every day.
I'd like to take another special moment to recognize all the working women out there, who may not have kids but have found the sudden shift from office life to office-at-home life a jarring experience. It takes patience and time to find your rhythm when there are no environmental cues to indicate when you're on the clock and when you're off it. Those of you stuck in small apartments with little to no space to work properly have still found a way to make it happen, day after day.
I'd like to take one last special moment to recognize all the women out there who volunteer their time, dedicating their lives to charitable organizations and worthy causes. When the pandemic hit, I know some of you were scrambling to work out how to keep your nonprofit funded, your charity supported, or fill those volunteer hours suddenly available. You saw how others in your community were struggling, and put the strain on yourself to find a way to make things work while observing health and safety measures that made your already difficult task even more complicated.
So here's to the month of March; a month to recognize Women's History, as well as our perseverance through difficult times. While bad days are bound to happen, we can say that "nevertheless, she persisted".
It's important to remember, through all of this, no matter what our work or life or financial situation is, we're not alone. Many other women out there are going through similar things right now; we're all 'going through it' and we're all—occasionally—feeling like failures. This is why staying connected in times like these, even virtually, is critical to our mental health and well-being. I encourage you to join the WomenWork community, whether you subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Instagram, join our WhatsApp group, or attend one of our upcoming events. Whatever your preferred channel may be, come share some knowledge and experience with us, with the hope of a better tomorrow.