The willingness to change and question the status quo by those who championed women's rights has repeatedly highlighted to the world that inequality and inequity has been perpetrated en masse. Recall the oppressive, debilitating and disfiguring tradition of feet binding that was considered a status symbol and a mark of beauty. As a westernised Australian Chinese woman, I'm glad the tradition is no longer in vogue. The Western women's movement has advanced steadily. Starting with the sacrifices of the Suffragettes who fought for the right of women to vote (the fight still continues in some countries); to the now fourth-wave feminists that continue to contribute to the movement by representing groups that are traditionally marginalised. The celebration of IWD, is a celebration of change.
Regardless of how change happens and how we experience it, it can be incredibly transformative. On a personal level, change can ensure life stays interesting, improves aspects of your lifestyle, ensures that challenging situations don't last forever and leads to opportunities and experiences. Most importantly, it allows one to grow and learn during such times of transition.
You've probably experienced change occur to you personally, in one of many ways - voluntarily, you've planned for something to happen, like moving house. Gradually, the change has been so small and incremental that you've hardly noticed it happen, like that bush becoming overgrown. Or unexpectedly, when you've been thrust into a situation without your prior knowledge or consent, like being in a car accident. For some of us any type of change can be overwhelmingly daunting, and this is understandable - we're hard wired to resist change. However, we all have the innate skills to easily overcome the fear of change.
On a global scale, if change didn't happen we wouldn't have the internet or more devastatingly, fast internet. Poverty has more than halved since 1981, most of those affected being female. Moreover, women would not have progressed as much as we have, in the West, without the changes that the women's movement has driven. With International Women's Day (IWD) being celebrated over the weekend, there is much to reflect on and celebrate.
The nature of change is inevitability. Ultimately, there will come a point where to resist it takes more effort than flowing with it. Take the example of the battle against climate change. We have seen in the past year that world leaders who are not taking a proactive stance to protect their nations from the effects of climate change are experiencing drastic political consequences. Their fight to redeem their position on climate change is now an uphill battle.
Consider what has stagnated in your life that could benefit from a little bit of change.