Today, as I have seen all sorts of beautiful posts about the International Day of the Girl, I have also watched my teenage daughter head off to her job and I have heard her make plans to go hiking with a friend tomorrow.
I am proud that the girl I have had the privilege to raise, has the freedom and abilities to take these steps. And I wish for all girls these freedoms, while also wishing that in every setting in our lives, all women and girls had these freedoms, but I know that it is not so.
All women continue to be governed by laws that were established predominantly by men. All women work and live in communities that have laws that disadvantage them in some way, either through the financial benefits that are limited when it comes to women or by laws that exclude women's experiences entirely.
I have been spending a lot of time during COVID thinking about the one commodity that is in short supply, and that is care work. Not because we do not, or cannot do it, but because in so many of our societies, it has not been valued - I mean that it has not been given financial value and falls to those with no other choices. Therefore, it is work that is often taken for granted, or not prioritized. In some cases, it is even devalued or dismissed. But COVID has shown that the only way to healing is through care - for ourselves and others, for those who have experienced loss and for those who are sick. Care is the most important human work. And traditionally, since it has been done by women, it has been undervalued.
The care-giving work is not inherently gendered work. If we advocate for care work to be honored and valued, it would inherently lead to women who do that work being honored and valued. This will matter for my daughter, my son and all of our children. It is up to all of us to continue to work to change the landscape and laws, and to value care work.
May everyone celebrate this Internation Day of the Girl and may all daughters have the freedom to go off to a job of their choosing and to go out hiking with a friend!