International Women’s Day
I’ve always been one to wonder why we needed a day, and if we did why was it only one day?
Always one to resent being told ‘this is the day you celebrate your Mother/Father/Lover’ and seeing the message ‘You celebrate by purchasing items that indicate your how much you care or are willing to sacrifice for them.’ I feel the need to have a ‘Women’s Day may have started out as a good intention but has morphed into condescension, reminding a lot of Women I know of the 364 other days in the year where our serious issues are paid lip-service at best and our rights actively fought to be reversed. Sometimes I feel like that is cynical view to take but that feeling is fleeting.
Having been lucky enough to grow up as a child without noticing discrimination towards me for being female, and having been taught to be and do whatever I am most passionate about – equal opportunity has never been a theme in my life because I’ve had it, I have it, I use it and in a sense, I demand it. Sometimes this has me described as ‘bold’ but no more-so than my male counterparts, that is for sure.
Where has this desire to be a self supporting Woman lead me?
One of the greatest realisations of being this ‘strong independant woman’ is that what I want, what I really really want, is to build strong communities, starting directly here in our workplace. I’m not doing this alone – I’m doing everything legitimately but nothing, nothing has been achieved on my own. I’ve had the most supportive family and partner, amazing professionals supporting my business and I’ve had an incredible team – largely made up of other strong Women taking their equal opportunity by the horns and creating careers and a sense of identity for themselves in the process.
Here I’ve created a place where we can come and practice what we love and only what we love, among good company. We are responsible for ourselves and our professionalism and are able to undertake further education – supported in part by the business and the business structure in regards to finances and time. We can work successfully around children and other life commitments or unexpected events. We earn a living wage and Men and Women earn the same. We have a shared understanding that our individual success also depends on the success of our fellow team members and we support each other and build each other up every day. We are locally owned and focused on supporting and being supported by other NZ owned businesses and products.
I’ve created Absolute Therapy from my ideals and I’ve learned from my mistakes.
Life has dealt me enough hard times and challenges to dampen my extraordinarily idealistic view of the world – but it hasn’t crushed my enthusiastic and optimistic nature. Since starting out in business, I’ve worked my butt off to achieve everything I have on as much of my own merit as possible. I’ve passed up opportunities to fall back on my looks or my female charms and I’ve been determined not to ‘owe anyone favors’ in the process of creating a life where I don’t have to rely on others.
I have been stubborn on forging forth my path in unconventional ways not having undertaken any formal business training and often operating outside of ‘industry norms’ in regards to employment models. I give what I feel to be a fair deal to my colleagues often leaving me weekend-less or penny-less while I help them grow as successful individuals. Over less than a decade look what I’ve built up, a truly supportive base for everyone who works here. By more ‘traditional’ models of business perhaps I could’ve had this sooner, or at less personal cost but this is no regret to me – in fact this is my point of pride. A fantastic small business and a long history of colleagues who refer to me as “the best boss ever” – I still laugh whenever anyone calls me “boss.”
Despite my distaste for commercial dates denoting when we should pay attention to any particular theme, I’ve come to realise the importance in sharing our successes, in allowing others the joy to share in our growth and achievements and in receiving the feedback that goes with it all.
It is up to us to write our defining words and to share and to take our inspiration from the areas we choose to.