By Marie Sola, Founder Daughters of Change
#ChoosetoChallange is the theme for International Women’s Day 2021. To quote the website: “A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.”
I have been pondering what I want to challenge for a few days. There is so much going on at this moment in time that cries out for change. There are so many issues surrounding topics like gender inequality, bias, and humanity’s future that need to be resolved.
The more I thought about it, the clearer it became: Start with myself!
Let me explain what I mean by that. I am squarely on the side of gender equality. I spend much of my time working to give women a platform to share their voices, talk about issues and challenges important to them, and how they are working towards solutions. This is something I will continue to do.
However, I realized that in order to address and right the wrongs of the world, I need to examine myself first. What deep seated internal biases do I have? Let’s face it, we all have them. What do I take for granted as I move through life as a CIS, white woman? How am I adding to the problems, or helping with the solutions? When is it time to talk, and when is it time to shut up, listen, and learn? How often do I sit in judgement of people who think differently than I, rather than having empathy and trying to understand?
I am a firm believer in taking a stance for fairness, equality, and justice. I have no problem speaking up (no surprise to those of you who know me). However, I want to do this in a way that moves change forward rather than getting stuck in the words and the arguments. Words do matter. Our voices can be constructive or destructive. Yes, we need to challenge things, that is how humanity grows. We must also forge solutions – moving past the talk to the walk.
I am taking this challenge internally to match what I have been doing externally. As I work towards helping to ease the confusion in the world, I will also work towards easing any confusion within me.
I challenge myself to examine my unconscious bias, talk less, listen more, and be brutally honest with myself, especially when I uncover something less than flattering. I will work hard to find empathy for people I dislike, or whose ideas I vehemently disagree with. Even if it is only to give me a more rational and logical mindset with which to move change forward.
Although I will continue to work outwardly while simultaneously burrowing into my subconscious. I am compassionately challenging myself and the world at large. At this point in my life, I know that to challenge and change the world, we must also challenge and change ourselves.
Marie believes that everything is possible, and the best lessons in life are learned outside of the box! What you put out there is what you attract back – each day is an opportunity to blaze a new trail and set change in motion. Most importantly, she is determined to have no regrets for not having tried when she meets her maker.