On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018, the Thrive Global Community joins hands in asking how women have changed our lives, inspiring us to pursue our goals and positively mentoring and influencing us in our life decisions. Do you recall a specific time when a woman or the support of other women changed your life?

UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, set up its milestones by creating a Timeline of Events showcasing Women Activists who fought in history for civil, social, political and religious rights for women, from 1840 till nowadays. Exploring the Timeline, it is a movement of women fighting for social justice, and against any type of discrimination based on race, class, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. 

Going around the World with Women, we recognize some of the most famous ones, from Rosie the Riveter, embodying a new way of working and women’s empowerment in a world that since then had been dominated by men in the workplace, and women staying at home, to the Butterflies sisters, symbol of political resistance in the Dominican Republic, protesting against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The Mirabal sisters were assassinated on 25 November 1960, reason why the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is celebrated on this day.

Women Activists were born, inspiring the present and future generations, by provoking change and gearing global mindsets towards women’ empowerment, gender equality, and mutual respect between men and women. Equal treatment, Equal Opportunities.

The power of media, TV, print and radio, and now the wave of social media campaigns, has also given space to speak up and raise voices for gender equality and against violence against women. Media plays a powerful role in shaping attitudes and behaviors, influencing and encouraging questioning and critical thinking. 

Mind-blowing and unforgettable human stories, reported by UN Women itself, of brave women in developing countries who seek equality, equal political participation. Women who want to end child marriage and female genital mutilation, and who advocate for family planning and life decisions on who to marry and when to marry, finding a balance between professional development and personal growth.

Let us sit and reflect upon them, who paved the way for our rights and the enjoyment of these rights nowadays. Let us continue the advocacy by educating girls to support and help one another, in a circle of solidarity that makes us the intuitive, compassionate and emphatic women that we want to see in the Future. The Future has always been Female, as Women create other Lives on Earth. They raise children and they empower them with their affection and constant presence. Creation after Creation, Mothers shape our lives and they guide us in enlightenment and wise decisions. Guiding and Protecting, these are the two words. 

When two is not enough anymore, women tend to extend their circle of influence and compassion. They reach out to other women, and they create other networks. The two Mother and Daughter, need to open up to other Women’s Worlds. They know the Power of Women, who, Together, can do magnificent things.

After realizing the Love and Strength of my mother (will never forget the time period of Mama, Spice Girls soundtrack who accompanied us during our youth) Women Expand. They grow bigger, and stronger. They find like-minded women for a higher purpose. To guide and mentor other girls. To learn, and to give back. To see them grow strong, and able to smile, be fulfilled and satisfied all through their life. To reach their Dreams, and instill Hope in other young women. It is something beautiful and unexplainable, if we think about it. The true beauty is that, all of it, comes natural to women. This is the true strength. It does require a lot of effort, because it is inside each woman’s heart.

A phenomenal non-for-profit organization, dedicated to the rights of women, is Soroptimist International,  a global volunteer movement with a network of over 75,000 club members in 122 countries. I joined them in 2012, when i started advocating for human rights and gender equality. In the clubs I had the privilege to be working in and to be welcomed as part of the sisterhood family, we worked on grassroots projects that help women and girls achieve their individual and collective potential, realize aspirations and have an equal voice in communities worldwide. With the Italian Club of the city of Piacenza, we also participated in the Milan Universal Expo 2015, in the section dedicated to Women and Sustainability WE- Women for Expo, by presenting a project for women empowerment in the village of Ouro-Koin, of Dogon ethnicity, in the Republic of Mali. In collaboration with Soroptimist Emilia Romagna and Association Kanagà 2008 Onlus, the club of Piacenza tirelessly worked to ensure better economic and social conditions for the women of Ouro Koin, by funding wells to fetch water closer to households, facilitating women’ work and offering them new opportunities for managing the wells and make decisions at community levels.

Protecting and Expanding. This is what Women do. Giving women the same opportunities as men, they will make sure to get the job done, going the extra mile, using their feminine energy to reach out and make an impact on other people’s lives ( the true measure of success). 

I challenge you. I just uploaded a photo of my mother and myself on this post. I know you can do the same. Girl or boy, retrieve a photo of your mother and yourself, and post in on your social media accounts. Use the hashtag of International Women’s Day, #IWD2018, as well as #TimeIsNow, and tell us how your mother, the essence of your life, made an impact in your life, what you learned from her and what you will bring to the next level, id est, in your friends circle, work circle, family circle. We are all circles. Therefore, we must take the good life lessons and bring them up to the next circle, rising together, and helping one another.

“We must delight in each other, make others conditions our own, rejoice together, mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community in the work, our community as members of the same body.”
— John Winthrop