Letter: Astronauts, activists & artists for International Women's Day

"Real power comes when you treat every other individual with equality and respect," says letter writer Palak Sharma, a Port Moody secondary school student

The Editor,

"Strong men, men who are truly role models, don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful," former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama said during a 2016 speech.

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Sunday was International Women’s Day and, in our current world, a belief like this is something we need more than anything. Women are passionate, beautiful, courageous, powerful and so much more.

Generations of women boldly battled against discrimination and rose to power by saying and doing compelling and controversial things. Some of them include Sojourner Truth, who is known for her empowering speech “Ain’t I a woman?”, on gender and racial equality; Susan B. Anthony, who fought for women's suffrage; Frida Kahlo, who used her art to discuss taboo topics such as abortion, miscarriage and birth; Simone de Beauvoir, who discussed modern feminism in her book The Second Sex, which focused on the idea that women belonged in passive roles in society; and Sally Ride, the first women to go to space.

It is crucial to recognize the amount of hard work and hard times women have been through to reach the stage at which we find ourselves now. Still, there are places where girls and women are still automatically designated to stay at home, be small and weak, keep their heads down, keep their mouths shut and not live their lives for themselves. “You cannot do this, you’re a woman. ” is a phrase used infinite times across the globe.

The reality is that women are strong, stronger. Women run households, give birth, raise children, have periods every month, wear heels — nothing is harder than that! — and yet still continue to move ahead. If there is anything stronger than this, I don’t know what that is.

Going back to Ms. Obama's quotation, real power comes when you treat every other individual with equality and respect. Empowering women can empower the entirety of the world, including men. Educating women about the global community, health, finances and other essential topics can only assist them to become accomplished citizens who are capable of bettering the world.

Everything comes down to telling the women and girls in your lives how important and strong they are. Speak with your partner, daughter, mother, sister or friend and take a minute to remind them that women belong to this world but, more importantly, the world belongs to them.

Palak Sharma, Port Moody

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