“I am a woman phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that’s me”– Maya Angelou

Written by: Pansiluni Weerawansa

Photo by Berru Doğa Nas on Canva

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. Significant activity is witnessed worldwide as groups come together to celebrate women’s achievements or rally for women’s equality. 

Women’s Day transcends mere observance; it stands as a powerful testament to the indomitable spirit, resilience, and countless contributions of women across the globe. Beyond its designation on the calendar, this day serves as a poignant reminder of the multifaceted nature of womanhood. It prompts us to dive deeper into its essence, exploring the array of unique perspectives and stories that define the female experience.

In navigating the complications of life, women encompass a multitude of identities shaped by factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation. These are their journeys, imbuing them with distinct challenges, triumphs, and perspectives. This Women’s Day, it is crucial to amplify the voices of women, recognising their resilience in the face of adversity, celebrating their victories, and acknowledging the profound richness they contribute to our collective narrative. By uplifting women, not only do we acknowledge the depth of their experiences but also affirm their significant worth and dignity. Their stories serve as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and remind us of the importance of inclusivity and solidarity in our ongoing pursuit of equality and justice.

Women’s Day serves not only as a platform for breaking stereotypes and challenging societal norms but also as a crucial opportunity to address the intersection of mental health within the context of womanhood. As we celebrate the women who defy convention and reshape societal expectations, it’s imperative to recognise the profound impact that mental health can have on their journeys. For far too long, women have faced stigma and discrimination surrounding mental health issues, often being silenced or overlooked. Being labelled as ‘weak’ or ‘over-sensitive’ when expressing emotions is off-putting for many women, who then suppress their emotions out of apprehension. The reality is that women experience mental health challenges at alarming rates, influenced by a myriad of factors including societal pressures, gender-based violence, and systemic inequalities.

It is essential to recognize the significant progress that has been achieved globally. Women have shattered barriers, challenged norms, and paved the way for gender equality in various spheres of life. Their contributions have propelled advancements in fields ranging from science and technology to politics and the arts, reshaping societies and inspiring generations to come.

However, despite these remarkable advancements, the journey towards gender equality remains unfinished. Across the globe, women continue to face systemic barriers and entrenched discrimination that hinder their full participation and contribution to society. From disparities in education and employment opportunities to unequal access to healthcare and political representation, the challenges confronting women are multifaceted and complex. In commemorating International Women’s Day, it is vital to not only celebrate the achievements of remarkable women but also to advocate for tangible change and commit to dismantling the systemic barriers that impede progress towards gender equality. By amplifying women’s voices, advocating for inclusive policies, and fostering environments that empower women to thrive, we can collectively strive towards a more just, equitable, and inclusive world for all.

This Women’s Day let’s shine a light on the courageous women who navigate mental health struggles with resilience and grace. Whether it’s the female entrepreneur or a stay-at-home mom grappling with depression while redefining notions of strength, their stories remind us of the importance of de-stigmatising mental illness and fostering a culture of empathy and support. Let’s use this day to amplify their voices, advocate for accessible mental health resources, and work towards creating a world where all women can thrive holistically, embracing their true selves without fear or shame.