OPINION | Why I'm saying ‘no’ to the unempathetic challenge of International Women’s Day 2021

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Mimi Nicklin says that International Women's Day 2021 is about #ChooseToCelebrate. Photo supplied by Jenny Griesel Communications
Mimi Nicklin says that International Women's Day 2021 is about #ChooseToCelebrate. Photo supplied by Jenny Griesel Communications
  • The theme for International Women’s Day this year is #ChooseToChallenge
  • International Women's Day is a time to reflect on our progress made and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women.
  • The theme has been created with the best intentions for a more equal and equitable world; however, it is not the beliefs but the action that author, empathy advocate and mom Mimi Nicklin is challenging.

I entirely support the continued passion and goal to drive women’s role and equity in society.

However, I also believe it is un-empathetic to the journeys of women all around the world today to be asking us to challenge anything further than the existing daily challenges we are all already

facing. As Covid-19 continues, we have seen that its impact and the economic fallout have had a far more regressive effect on women than our male counterparts. Do we need to be taking on anything bigger than overcoming the challenge of surviving and resetting the grips of the pandemic?

READ MORE| The media have muted the voices of women during Covid-19. Can the tide be turned?

According to McKinsey, women’s jobs are 1.8 times more vulnerable to the Covid crisis than men’s jobs, and while women make up 39% of global employment, they account for 54% of overall job losses. Almost 1 million mothers have left the workforce in the USA alone.

There is a continuous slew of headlines shouting out for help:

Working moms are not okay.”

Pandemic Triples Anxiety And Depression Symptoms In New Mothers.”

Working Moms Are Reaching The Breaking Point.”

With raging mental health issues, anxiety spiralling out of control and burnout at an all-time high, I believe asking women to take on any more challenges is disconnected and unempathetic to women everywhere. 

READ MORE| Women risk losing decades of workplace progress due to Covid-19 – here’s how companies can prevent that

Given the year that has passed, I think we have great amounts to celebrate in the challenges we have already overcome (and are continuing to face every day).  Should we be asking each other to do any more than that?

After months of balancing it all - alone, from home, with children flying all around us and pets interrupting our online meetings, Nicklin believes that this International Women's Day, we should be saying #ChooseToCelebrate and not #ChooseToChallenge.

Let's celebrate women for what they are doing, for who they have near them, for the moments they continue to endure when they realise they truly are doing it all, already.

This month, I want to say to women everywhere: Choose to empathise with yourself and with the strong women around you, for it is our survival, our tenacity and our grit that should be the ultimate celebration in March 2021.

* Mimi Nicklin is the internationally bestselling author of ‘Softening The Edge’ and the host of the ‘Empathy for Breakfast’ breakfast show & podcast. She is an experienced marketer and communications strategist, a well-known empathetic coach, and a contributor, advocate and content creator for the global movement to balance humanism and capitalism.

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