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International Women’s Day

International Womens DayOn Friday, as the week wound down, I asked my association, Helena Farber, if she had any plans for the coming weekend.

“Well, tomorrow I am celebrating International Women’s Day,” she said.

At first I thought she was joking, but as she saw the puzzled look on my face, she began to explain that IWD was, indeed, an international event celebrated annually on March 8th.

“So what do you do to celebrate?” I asked.  Helena, who is from Russia, said that traditionally men honor their mothers, girlfriends, wives (hopefully not both of the latter at the same time), friends and colleagues by taking them out to dinner, as well as giving them flowers and gifts.  “It is somewhat like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day,” she explained.

Intrigued, I did some more research and discovered that IWD dates back to the early 20th century, a time when in most countries, including the U.S., women didn’t even have the right to vote.  The event has, over time, sought to advance women’s rights and roles in society.  Over the years it has grown so that today it encompasses a celebration of women’s achievements in economics, politics and society.

What I am trying to reconcile is how I missed out on this event over the last 30 plus years.  After all, I earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business in the late 1970s; I interned at a firm in London where the only other women in this (now defunct) international firm held clerical positions; I was the lone woman among a group of about 20 graduating students who were interviewing with Caterpillar Tractor one cold December day in 1979; and I was the first female clerk (let alone lawyer) working for a “gold ole boy” downtown Atlanta law firm in 1983.  I should have been celebrating BIG TIME all those years.

Instead, as I look back, I see that Women’s Day was celebrated as an almost daily event when I was growing up.  The principal perpetrator of the celebration was my father.    You see, from as far back as I can remember, my father told me I could be anything and do anything I set my mind to do.  This was pretty prophetic from a guy who grew up in the Depression, never went to college, had a stay-at-home wife (my mother) and raised two sons who are 11 and 9 years older than I am.  By all accounts, I should have been raised on a tuffit instead of on tough love.

So, you may ask, what does this have to do with

family law

?  It has quite a lot, actually.  Even though a divorce will, by definition, reduce the time you may spend under the same roof with your daughter, you can and should still be an important influence in her life.  What you say to her and how you show your support to her are and will remain as a guiding force in her life, with significance you cannot not even imagine. It may not be easy for you, and may require a lot of effort, particularly if you had a more contentious divorce.  But let’s face it, nothing truly worth doing is ever easy.

Perhaps John Mayer said it best in his song “Daughters,” when he sang:

On behalf of every man
Looking out for every girl
You are the god and the weight of her world

So fathers, be good to your daughters
Daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So mothers, be good to your daughters too

I mentioned IWD this past weekend to my two daughters, who were home from college on Spring Break.  Since they were both battling the flu after a week of spring revelry, I don’t know how much sunk in.  Still, as my father unwittingly celebrated this holiday with me many years ago, I hope that I, too, made Women’s Day a daily event for my girls…even now while they no longer live with me.

IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia.  Women still have many hurdles in the way of achieving true full equality with men.  Fathers (and mothers) regardless of what has happened with your relationship, make Women’s Day a daily event for your daughters.*

By the way…sons need guidance, love and support too!

 

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