This year’s global celebration carries the message “choose to challenge.”
This week we celebrate International Women’s Day, an annual global celebration of women’s achievements and an acknowledgement of how far we have come, as well as a day to bring awareness to the work still ahead of us. While women have made great strides, there is so much still to do to achieve gender equality and an eradication of violence against women.
This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is “choose to challenge.” We challenge gender stereotypes, we challenge the patriarchal paradigm, and we challenge the limitations placed on women in the workplace, in competition, and in defining their role autonomously. This is not so different than how we have had to challenge the assumptions made about people living with mental illness. Here at the Academy, we are all too familiar with having to fight for a seat at the table.
As we give deference to the pioneers who cleared the path for us, we must also pledge to pay it forward for future generations. This means that we will expect more, and we will not be afraid to ask for more. We must all commit to developing the courage of living our best and most authentic life, unfettered by antiquated voices that tell us we are less than.
To be clear, the “we” referred to here is not exclusive to women. Without our male allies in the conversation, we will never truly have a just world. When we unite to support equality, it is not just women who benefit, it is all of us.
Shown above are some of the Academy women who “choose to challenge” everyday.