the state or condition of being equal, especially regarding status or pay.”parity of incomes between rural workers and those in industrial occupations”
synonyms: equality, equivalence, uniformity, consistency, correspondence, congruity, levelness, unity, coequality “we strive for a parity of wages”
Today is International Women’s Day and this year’s theme is Parity. On one hand we have come so far from a time less than 100 years ago when a woman didn’t even have the right to vote much less have the power to run a company, launch a new business or make her own financial decisions.
Even in the 1960’s an unmarried woman was often refused a credit card and married women had to have their husbands co-sign for them! While we can find exceptions to these rules and badass pioneering women through out history, the majority lived by the constraints of these limitations. Just 80 years ago women were being encouraged to douche with Lysol (YES LYSOL!!!) to remain poised and fastidious. A woman’s role was narrowly defined as wife and mother and often women who could not fit into this box often ended up in mental hospitals, relegated to the status of “old maid” or living on the margins of conventional society.
In the last hundred years we have gained the right to vote, we have fought for & won power in the workplace, we have access to effective birth control, sex education and choice over our bodies. Fortunately awareness of domestic violence is ever increasing and there are safe houses for victims and their children to escape to. Women serve the highest political offices on this planet. Women own property separate from their husbands and we can choose to marry or remain single AND we can pursue divorce without having to prove anything is broken.
Slowly but surely we are redefining the narrow margins of feminine beauty and body types. Women of all sizes, colors and ages are gaining recognition and appreciation. We are openly discussing our sexuality and our gender identity. We can love who we love and as of June 27, 2015 just one day shy of exactly 46 years after the Stonewall riots we can marry whomever we love too. If you consider that the very last Magdalene Laundry didn’t close in Ireland till 1996 or read an article or watch even one program on the history of the suffrage movement, it is obvious we have traveled light years even from the days when Jackie Gleason was saying “to the moon Alice.” Yet simultaneously we still have a very long way to go. Even the official white house website acknowledges on average, full-time working women still only earn just 78 cents for every dollar a man earns. The gap is narrowing but it still exists.
SO what does this have to do with healing? What does this have to do with creating a magnificent life? As women it is time we claim the prestige and resources we deserve. However we are still conditioned to put other people’s needs first, we are taught to be self effacing and we often lack the confidence to take on a project if we are not already masters in the field. Statistically women are less likely to risk becoming entrepreneurs than men and this is reflected in their greater self doubt and less inclination to take chances when they fail a first time.
Perfectionism, low self esteem, over giving and people pleasing are all factors that contribute to why as women we are often still lagging behind. While inequality is definitely a factor, we do have the power to change our part in all of this. Without a doubt all of this has it’s roots in a culture of global misogyny and patriarchal privilege where males and females have been conditioned to behave accordingly.
At this point though, the change is going to come from us ceasing to allow the gender prison to incarcerate us and standing up for ourselves. This starts as an inside job. It starts when we stop using our weight (or some other aspect of our appearance) as the harness that prevents us from believing we deserve to get what we truly desire. It starts when we can simply say thank you for a compliment without excusing it away or crediting someone else for why it was possible. It starts when we can clearly and precisely ask for what we need and want without apologizing or explaining. It starts when we can claim how far we have already come, promote the skills and brilliance we already possess and trust we can learn as we go when we say yes to something new.
Now the challenge is that stepping into this kind of confidence and bold action doesn’t simply just happen because one day we merely decide we are ready for it to be this way. It takes effort. It takes self love. It takes persistence. We must dismantle old patterns of sabotage, self deprecation and people pleasing. We must release ancestral legacies of expectation about what and who a “good woman, wife and mother” should be. For all the days we got knocked down, all the moments we felt threatened simply for being female, all the experiences that hurt us and tried to “put us in our place” now is the time for all these memories to lose their power over us. Because today we have hit critical mass and for the sake of our entire planet, not just ourselves, we women must stand up and be given the resources, power & credit we deserve.