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IWD 2022 Reflections with Kristin

Kristin: It’s International Women’s Day!!

I love that we’re celebrating women today and that women everywhere (and admittedly, some men, too) are lifting each other, celebrating being women and giving two fingers up to the patriarchy. That we’re raising awareness of the importance of women’s equality and fundraising for women-focused charities.

But IWD also makes me angry. Why in 2022, do we still need an international women’s day?

Before you all turn hit pause and immediately storm off to give The Second Chapter a one-star review while cursing my name, let me say, OF COURSE WE NEED IT. And for the men who ask when their day is… it’s 364 days a year. Actually, sorry, it’s 365 days a year, we just call this one ours. What I mean is, I can’t believe that we still don’t have the equality and the respect that we deserve. That there are people who still question whether women should be paid the same as men, the fact that the London Tube system has to have ads saying that catcalling is a form of sexual harassment and not ok- when women don’t feel safe walking home in the dark because of gender-based violence, when globally a woman or girl is killed every 11 minutes in their own home- as long as these things are still happening, we need International Women’s Day.

Wil Stracke, a trade-unionist and feminist from Melbourne, Australia says it perfectly in a video sharing details of a women’s rally she’s organised in Melbourne today. “We still have a lot to make noise about. International Women’s Day belongs to protest. It belongs to demands.”

Yes, let’s celebrate each other, but we also need to be demanding better for ourselves and for the women of the future and around the world.

I doubt it BUT… If anyone out there is questioning even the small scale misogyny that still exists.. Just yesterday, I was run coaching a group of women who I work with, when one of them was struggling and stopped for advice/words of encouragement.

A man came up to us and said, “your husbands aren’t paying for you to stand around chatting”. When my athlete - a strong, powerful, successful woman in her own right clarified that I was the trainer, he said he was just “being funny". Now, I like to think that I have a pretty well-defined sense of humour, and I can laugh about almost anything, but that wasn’t funny. And it’s the little acts of being funny, the cat calls, the micro-aggressions that mean that even in a society that on the surface promotes gender equality… these acts and the ones that are so much more atrocious are why we need IWD.

So yes, I love today, but I really wish we didn’t need IWD anymore. I could live without it if it meant my sisters could be equal, safe and recognised every day.

I’m also struggling with IWD this year because every year since I started my production company, Slackline Productions, I’ve hosted or launched an event sharing the work of female playwrights, directors and actors, telling the stories of women 35+ on the 8th of March. This year, I dropped the ball. I’ve got nothing. Now it was my first reaction to apologise. I felt- and feel- guilty for not celebrating what- as a female-led, female-advocating company (and woman) is the most important day of the year. But I preach from week to week on the podcast- you can do it, change is possible, you’re amazing… how can I do that myself if I’m always apologising? So, my gift to myself this International Women’s Day is to stop apologising, to spend more time challenging the system that led us to apologise in the first place, and to remember that I AM ENOUGH. And I’m here speaking to you today as just me… and I hope that you’re protesting, challenging and celebrating that you’re enough today (and every day) too.

But I want to do a little more than that, so through the day today, I’ll be posting on our instagram page (@the_second_chapter_podcast) some of my favourite IWD inspired things. Female-led companies I like, words to inspire, people to follow, ideas for change. Because while I’m enough, I can’t let most days go by without giving a shout out to amazing women, and I’m ready, in the words of Stracke to make some NOISE, so I’m shouting from the roof tops on International Women’s Day.

And I’ll share one more thing with you here… you all know I love a quote, so today I’m doing one better and offering a poem.

Though she started much younger than the typical The Second Chapter guest, I think Rupi Kaur’s work is incredibly relatable, bold, and inspiring and I think you will too. If you don’t know her, here are a few details

As a 21-year-old university student Rupi wrote, illustrated and self-published her first poetry collection, milk and honey (after being discouraged to do so- being told she’d be looked down upon, but also being told poetry anthologies were never published). Next came its artistic sibling, the sun and her flowers. These collections have sold over 10 million copies and have been translated into over 42 languages. Her most recent book, home body, debuted #1 on bestsellers lists across the world. In 2021, Rupi executive produced and starred in her debut film, Rupi Kaur Live, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Rupi's work touches on love, loss, trauma, healing, femininity, and migration. She feels most at home when creating art or performing her poetry on stage.

I won’t hold a candle to Rupi performing her own work, but I’d love to share one of my favourites from milk and honey now.

Happy International Women’s Day to all of you extraordinary, intelligent, brave and beautiful women. And cheers to everyone who is working, protesting, demanding, making noise for the day that EVERY day is International Women’s Day.


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