Happy International Women’s Day: Keep the Mansplaining to a Minimum Today, Please

If you’re still questioning why we need Women’s Day, I’ve got some news for you: your privilege is hanging out and you can’t see it. 

Privilege comes in a lot of shapes and sizes and it’s not always about having extra. Having buttloads of money and resources are obvious advantages, but oftentimes privilege is more about what we don’t deal with. 

There’s a great comic that illustrates this point. It pictures two runners on a race track, a white man and a black woman. His track is completely clear except for a few hurdles. Her pathway is full of barbed wire, brick walls, and even an alligator. The captions reads, “What’s the matter? It’s the same distance.”

(artist: Emanu)

Each one of those barriers represents something women have to deal with that men simply don’t. Creepy comments from older professionals? Barbed wire. Getting talked over or mansplained at meetings? Brick wall. Patients thinking we’re nurses or the student? An alligator in the freaking road! 

If you’re a man, you’re thinking, “Well, Errin, my life hasn’t been a cake walk…I’ve got some alligators of my own.” Which is fair, I’ll give you that. Everyone’s path looks different. I know that for every brick wall I kick down, there are other people dealing with higher hurdles. Some are even running on broken feet, so to speak. 

Just remember that Women’s Day is a reminder that some of those hurdles are in people’s way just because we’re women. It’s not a coincidence that half the population deals with the same types of problems!! 

Days like this give us room to talk about and acknowledge struggles that we all share. It’s also a reminder that we have the power to help each other. We’ve got to work together to start cutting down that barbed wire. 

Finally, it’s an opportunity to CELEBRATE the incredible jobs that the women around us are doing, have done and will do in the future. We don’t often get thanks or praise for doing all the hard work that lands on our plates. 

High five a woman today and celebrate who she shows up in the world despite not knowing all her challenges though her journey to this point.

And to all my ladies: Happy Women’s Day! Keep jumping those hurdles and smashing those walls. 

You. are. worth. celebrating. 

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