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Happy International Women’s Day!

8 Mar

Today is International Women’s Day, a day when we celebrate the economic, social and political achievements of women in the past, present and future. 2012 marks the 101st anniversary of IWD – and it is both wonderful and heartbreaking that the occasion has been marked for so long.

International Women's Day

Why wonderful? The history of IWD allows us the luxury of looking back at and being inspired by the women who have gone before us. Women like Emmeline Pankhurst and Susan B. Anthony who campaigned for women’s rights and suffrage.

Why heartbreaking? Because even after over one hundred years of discussing these issues, there is still so far to go.

The distance we still have to travel is vast for so many reasons. I am lucky to have been born in the time and place that I was; I had access to education, health care and good nutrition. Many millions of women in the world don’t have that luxury, and that needs to change. 

But even in environments like Australia, Europe or the United States where, in theory at least, women have the same rights to access health care and education as men, we have a long way to go. Millions of women are not safe in their own homes thanks to domestic abuse and violence. When a woman reports a sexual assualt or rape to the police, it can be a lottery as to whether her case is treated with the respect and sensitivity it deserves.

Then we have the constant media commentary that seems determined to undermine a woman not matter what she does. She either has too many children or not enough. She either works too hard and earns too much, or she decides to work in a female dominated industry and then dares to ask for more money. She’s either dressing down and not making the most of herself, or she’s asking for it.

We can’t win. And sometimes our worst critics are actually other women.

So what can we do? As always, I believe change starts with ourselves. Yes, lots can be done at a political level in both developed and developing countries. But even more can be done through shifting our own views and attitudes.

Start within yourself. Challenge your own assumptions and prejudices. Are you always fair to your fellow women? Or do you judge them for their life choices and condemn them as selfish/stupid/unworthy?

Be honest.

Today, take the time to really think about how wonderful the women in your life are.

And then, tomorrow, do it again.

Awesome stuff for the super-keen:

I love this article by Annie Lennox, published for last year’s IWD.

Here are 21 inspiring women. Why not make your own list of female inspiration?


What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you as a result of procrastinating?

22 Oct

Hah! I love the little prompts wordpress comes up with to help inspire your next post. I actually have a few posts ready to go, but this prompt really got me thinking.

You see, I’m a very good procrastinator. I’m an expert at it. In fact, if there were ever awards for procrastinating, I’d be up there on the stage. It’s a safe be that will never happen, as me and my fellow procrastinators wouldn’t be able to get around to organising it.

But the worst thing that’s ever happened to me? That’s a toughy – I don’t think I can distill it down to one thing. So here are (gulp!) my top three procrastinating moments.

1. Paying a whole lot more to fly – the dollar cost of procrastination

Last year I flew back to the UK for a family wedding. The date was set well in advance, I knew I wanted to be there because I hadn’t seen family and friends for ages, and the holiday came at the end of a really frantic period at work – perfect timing. And yet, for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to buy my flights.

I knew who I wanted to fly with, the flights were available on their website, and yet I just kept hesitating when it came to hitting the buy it now button. I’d log on every day and check availability, but wouldn’t buy.

End result? I left it too late, and while I still managed to get home for the wedding, it cost me several thousand more dollars than it would have done if I’d just bitten the bullet earlier.

2. Working ’til 4am – the time cost of procrastination

This one has happened a few times, mostly when I was a student, but the most recent occurrence was only a few years ago. I was responsible for preparing a document to a deadline, but I just kept putting it off. It was a large, complicated document that required input from a lot of people, and the task just seemed too big somehow.

End result? I was working ’till 4am to finish it, and worse still, the people responsible for other inputs had to work that late too, just because of my procrastination. Not one of my finer moments.

3. Missing out on a night with friends – the personal cost of procrastination

This last one happened when I still lived in London. A friend planned a great night out for NYE, but we needed to get tickets. Everyone confirmed early – except me of course. I saw her email every day, but kept putting off replying.

End result? Everyone got tickets, except me. One very quiet NYE followed for me.

You see? Procrastination is bad kids, it makes you miss out on things. Just do it!