Recognising why we celebrate International Women’s Day is important, for so many reasons.
Celebrating success can look like many different things, and success is completely subjective. In this article we take a look at two women who are living their lives on their own terms.
Defining ‘success’ can be a tricky one, but for these women, it’s about living the life they have chosen for themselves. Something that only a handful of decades ago, even in the western world, would have been at the very least extremely challenging, if not unthinkable. And today we also need to recognise that there are women across the world who still have no control over their own lives.
IWD 2023’s theme is ‘Embrace Equity’. In recognising the issues around equity and equality, we can identify that whilst many things have improved for many women, there is still a long way to go. But here we celebrate two women who have found success in their own ways, and made their lives completely their own…
Sally, 55, is an account director living in Surrey, with a respectable job in Canary Wharf.
“I was a rebellious teenager, determined to not fit the mould of the conventional British family, all adhering to the patriarchy, and learning to cook and clean. I went through all your typical stages of rebellion, from smoking to making – shall we say ‘interesting’ lifestyle choices – but at the same time I knew I wanted to go to university and create my own life for myself.
“To give my parents their due, they were very supportive of my choice, although my mother couldn’t fathom why I would want to leave home and have a job, when I could marry someone nice and adopt the position of housewife.
“Anyway, I packed my bags and headed off to university, resolved to study whatever would make me the most money afterwards. I know, this is a foolish way to think, but at the time I had tunnel vision, and it’s turned out to be a complete blessing. I love my job, and I love the doors that opened for me with my degree, and I love knowing I’ve done it all myself.
“I’ve swiftly worked my way up and now have quite a lovely life. I’ve got a house that I’m in love with, a family who are so supportive and loving, and I have the privilege of holidaying and driving a nice car. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
“Of course, I realise I’m in an advantaged situation, but it makes me feel so overwhelmed and grateful to know I did it all myself. I will support my daughters in achieving their life goals whatever they may be. Whether they choose to follow in my footsteps or create a whole new life of their own, I’ll be proud to know that they, as women, have the opportunity to find their own path.”
Poppy, 62, is a traditional wife, mother, and homemaker
Poppy knew from the age of 10 that she wanted to be a mother, and feels grateful that she was able to pursue her dream while setting out her own rules for life.
“I have always wanted to be a mother. I don’t know if this was encouraged by the societal norms when I was a child, but either way, all I wanted to do was have a cosy home with lots of little ones running around and wreaking havoc.
“I love my parents, but their thinking wasn’t very progressive or moving in the direction of modern times, and I suppose they were happy that I was replicating my mother’s life for myself, as she had a lovely life. They were more than encouraging of my goals.
“I was very lucky to meet my husband at the ripe old age of 18, and we’ve been together ever since. We have grown four happy and healthy children, and I absolutely love that I was able to be home full time to watch them grow.
“When they grew up and flew the nest, I felt a sense of loss. While I was more than excited to become a grandmother, I wanted to support my children’s journeys, and none of them involved children just yet. So I decided to fill my time with something I adored, that also made me my own money and help me gain a sense of independence.
“I have always loved making candles and gifting them for Christmas, but my children remarked that I had a real knack for it and sell them. I set about learning how to create a website all by myself, and I’ve watched my humble candle business grow into an entire homeware company.
“I actually bring home more money than my husband, who has no concerns about this whatsoever and quite often boasts about his ‘breadwinner wife’. I do wonder if my life would be significantly different had I taken this path earlier in life, but knowing I’ve created four lives and a successful company outweighs any potential what ifs.
International Women's Day 2023
The theme for this year’s International Women's Day is #EmbraceEquity. The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren't enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action. Read more about this here.