Dar'Jen Ab Owain

IWW - Small Steps to Progress

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While it is often the large events, marches, public displays, and such that get publicity, it is more often than not simple acts done on a daily basis that can help enact the most change. The identity of women have certainly changes over the years. Laws have been passed in various localities to help enable women to receive protection form mistreatment and from discrimination. Women have made advancements in education and business, often achieved through changes in policies. However, laws and policies can only come to be by changes people's perspectives. This is where everyday acts can gradually change perceptions.

 

What have you done to help shows others that a woman is not limited to certain ideas, particular jobs, or unable to compete in various venues? If you have been able to participate on a larger scale, please feel free to tell us about your experience. If not, what small things have you done, or could you do, that would help to be small steps to progress on how people view women?

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I haven't done anything major but I try in little ways!

 

I have a degree in science and although I don't work in the field I talk about it when jobs come up when talking to a younger girl and let them know that science is an option for them. 

In my work I'm taking on more of a management role and while I'm nice, I don't make any apologies for being bossy :laugh:

I try to never put down another woman for her choices in life. Working 70 hr weeks to get as much money as possible? Good for her, not for me! Stay at home mum? Got for her, not for me!

I talk pretty openly to anyone who asks about being on the fence about having kids and hopefully making it more emphatically known that not having kids is also an option.

To anyone that asks I'm quite open about the fact in my relationship with my boyfriend, he's the romantic one and the emotional one. When we get our own flat I know he's the one that's going to have been mentally planning his decor for years and I'm just going to go with the flow. Just really letting people see that you don't always have to follow traditional male/female patterns in the relationship if that's not what works best for you. 

 

So really not much - but for me, it's about letting people know and understand the wealth of options available to them and being accepting of their decision.

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One year when the International Woman's Day theme was about science I organised a small token of appreciation with the men from work for the women. I work at a university, so that made it especially close to home for all of us.

 

Our university has various gender equality projects going but even so it's still important to poke allertness and awareness because often people (especially those in privileged situations) tend to think those problems 'far from them' and don't realise how many women they personally know that have to deal with all kinds of issues men don't.

 

To raise awareness for this, I also laid myself bare at one point (different year than the above mentioned one) and told them all that they knew at least one woman that had been molested both physically/sexually and psychologically. It's one of those 'not-done' things but sometimes one has to do the not-done thing to open people's eyes to the reality of a lot of people. I didn't get any responses on it, nore did I want any (especially no acclamations of whatever). The aim was to make them aware that these problems and issues were not the 'far from my bed show' that they often think them to be.

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There is this one important lesson I learned as a competitive swing dancer and as a dance instructor: the focus is the woman, making her look stunning and amazing.  I've tried to keep that up in my life, especially with my wife.  I wanted to make sure that wife's dream of being a counselor would be a reality and that her desire to always have a parent/family member to watch the kids would happen.  To make this happen I was a stay at home dad for a couple of years while she worked and put my career on hold working any job that fit in and around her masters program to make that happen.  I want her to shine.  I'm currently commuting 2.5 hours everyday so we can live in a town where she can thrive at her job and our kids can be watched by her family.  I hope my girls see that and learn that they can do anything and the expectation is the men around them are to help them thrive and shine.

 

The other thing I do is spur my daughters on to do whatever they want.

 

The most important thing and what these movements are emphasizing is for us men to listen.  Just shut up and listen.  Listen to your stories, to those pains and hurts we have caused, to what we can do better, how we can empower you.  I'm so thankful you all have a chance to share and I hope we men take this time to reflect and learn and apologize for all the stupid, horrid stuff we have done.

 

So...I'm sorry.  I'm sorry on behalf of the men who have scared you, hurt you, belittled you, shut you down and shut you up.  It' not something to be glossed over, hushed, or dropped after the hype and publicity has fallen to the side.  I will stand with you now and will continue to stand with you after the parades and marches are over.  I will encourage and spur on my wife and daughters.  I'm sorry we haven't focused on allowing you to shine, to be the ones fighting right along side you.

 

As I had said, it's a time for us to listen so if there is anything I've written that triggers something let me know, either here or PM me.  We have a lot to learn and many layers that we need to strip away that our world has put on us that have cause you so much pain.

 

Thank you for sharing ladies.

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Thank you all for sharing. While we can certainly take part in the bigger, publicized events, and these can do amazing things in getting a dialogue flowing, I do believe that a lot of change takes place with daily interactions. The way we speak to one another and are there for each other, encouraging each other, male or female, to strive for their best.

 

I have suffered abuse. It is not something I talk about a great deal; perhaps I should. My focus has been in trying to let those events strengthen me rather than tear me down, and it is a daily challenge. I try to be better than what I had no control over. I attempt to use it as a catalyst for my self-improvement rather than as a shield to hide behind.

 

My son is fourteen. I have tried to show him that a woman should not be categorized in any particular way. When my husband and I were together, I generally had the better job. My husband tended to care for the home, though we often shared tasks, such as cooking and laundry, and showed that it was a team effort. Sadly, we are no longer together, and my son lives with me at my parents'. We toss the football together and play video games together. I help him with his studies. Anytime he has ever said something about "a girl can't do that" or "that's not for a boy", my response would be "why not" and we would discuss. By the end of our talk he would understand why there shouldn't be a block there. The only reason someone cannot pursue something should not be based in stereotypes. but only in personal ability.

 

Blank, I completely agree with understanding the wealth of options. Not everyone is suited for certain things, and as a women, we should not be pressured to have children or be denied positions for so long determined as "male's only."

 

Mystica, your efforts at the university where you worked allowed those in a different status to be a bit more aware of the world beyond there own sphere. Sometimes to be aware that something is not as far from them as they think, they need to know that someone they know has faced something.

 

Oscar, you are a good man, and your wife and daughters are very lucky to have you. Hopefully others outside of your family witness what you do for the "women" in your life and it makes them a bit more aware of what can be.

 

The biggest challenge I think we face in making progress comes down to mutual respect for each other. If we genuinely respected each other, and ourselves, so much of the negativity would simply cease to be. Perspectives would be altered and changes made. A girl should be able to grow up without being subjectified. She should be encouraged to strive for her dreams in whatever field they may be in. The same should go for a boy. Small things we do each day can go a long way in showing mutual respect and encourage the best to show through.

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DJ has put my thoughts into beautiful words. Thank you :)

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Thank you, Mother.

 

Does anyone else have anything to share? As we have discussed thus far, it does not take big actions to start change happening. Assisting someone in seeing from a different perspective is an admirable accomplishment. Planting the seed of change and helping to nurture it is an important thing. The smallest act can have large impact.

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I have lived and worked in areas where there are a lot of Hispanic farm workers and their families. I have encouraged girls/women to pursue education, seek out financial aid, and give a hand to those behind them.

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On 3/13/2018 at 9:08 AM, Mystica said:

One year when the International Woman's Day theme was about science I organised a small token of appreciation with the men from work for the women. I work at a university, so that made it especially close to home for all of us.

 

Our university has various gender equality projects going but even so it's still important to poke allertness and awareness because often people (especially those in privileged situations) tend to think those problems 'far from them' and don't realise how many women they personally know that have to deal with all kinds of issues men don't.

 

To raise awareness for this, I also laid myself bare at one point (different year than the above mentioned one) and told them all that they knew at least one woman that had been molested both physically/sexually and psychologically. It's one of those 'not-done' things but sometimes one has to do the not-done thing to open people's eyes to the reality of a lot of people. I didn't get any responses on it, nore did I want any (especially no acclamations of whatever). The aim was to make them aware that these problems and issues were not the 'far from my bed show' that they often think them to be.

 

I think the #metoo thing just really made people aware that it's close to all of us. Of course, there are multiple issues and not all of us have suffered the extreme, but most of us have suffered something, it seems to me.

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