March 8th Is International Women’s Day, Here’s Why It’s Everyday

Woman with a globe

Everyday is Women’s Day with ongoing progress and contributions in every facet of life.

The first Women’s Day was observed in New York City on February 28, 1909

There are days that I am grateful to be a woman in this day and age, and then other days, I wonder if I had lived about 200 years back, how quickly I would have been burned at the stake for all to see. I was thinking about March 8th and how since 1909, we have been celebrating International Women’s Day, or rather I should say, not celebrating this most significant event.

As a women in corporate banking

This thought brought me back to my past life as a successful Corporate Banker over 25 years ago in the heart of downtown Miami, FL. It was the mid-80’s, when navy blue suits lined my closet, and leather briefcases, beepers, and big hair were signs of success.

I had moved quickly up the ranks, and I was a smart, hard-working, and attractive young lady determined to “hit the big times.” I wore this image well and walked the talk. I managed an International Division, and most of my clients were foreigners with money to burn.

I knew my job well, and looking back now, I realize that I was a bit naïve to the idea that everyone wasn’t as happy about my success as I was. I had never really encountered any chauvinistic arrogance or double-standards, and if I had, I was too innocent to notice them.

The “man in charge”

There was a particular male client I recall who insisted on speaking with the “man in charge” in my office one day. My staff was well-trained, professional, and screened all clients before directly sending them to me.

I can remember confidently walking out of my office, hand extended, a smile on my face, and with my well-trained introduction. The gentlemen quickly sized me up from top to bottom as though he had lost something along the way.

He never had the courtesy to mutually extend his own hand to greet me and rudely left my hand in midair. He proceeded to tell me that he only would conduct business with men after a brief apology.

Well, it was very obvious to all in attendance that I was far from that. Even in the most conservative navy blue suit, my legs were long, my 6-inch stilettos had me towering over him, and my extended red finger nails would have done serious damage to his face.

I must say, it took a lot for me to maintain my smile. I contained my shock internally, my mouth immediately felt like I had a huge cotton ball in it, and I quickly moved to plan B.

I discreetly curled my extended hand back alongside my body, acknowledged his request, and asked him to have a seat in the lobby until I could find a “man” to be of service. It did take a few moments to gather my thoughts and figure a plan.

I bring this story up to remind us that although this occurred over 25 years ago, we still have much more to go. Then you think about International Women’s Day and read that over 270 girls from Nigeria are still missing from the Boko Haram terrorist kidnapping of 2014, as reported by The Guardian.

These girls were students, daughters, sisters, and women who were getting educated to better their lives. Where are these girls? What has become of them?

Time Magazine also reported great progress in the primary enrollment of education for girls and boys worldwide being equal since 1995.

This is cause for celebration and will only continue to open doors for greater opportunities. So we are improving in the educational piece, yet women still only represent 22% of politicians in the world, and as low as this number is, it is actually double what it was in 1995, in accordance with Time Magazine.

Yes, we have come along way, baby, but we still have a long way to go!

The Voice of Women

The voice of women, for women must be spoken loud and clear, and it can’t just be in the kitchen. It’s not just statistics or numbers on a chart; it’s the attitudes of generations from our fathers and from those before them. It’s started way before 1909 with International Women’s Day and will continue to move way past 2022.

What came of the client I left sitting in my lobby on that day, back in the mid 80’s thinking of my “Plan B”, you ask?

Well, I have often been known to quote the saying, “We plan, and God laughs.” It just so happened that my Assistant Manager was a man. Easy enough, right?

Well you see, my Assistant Manager was also gay, and upon hearing about my dilemma he decided to “exaggerate” just a tad.

I must say I enjoyed the remainder of the afternoon watching the “show” from my office. The client was obviously uncomfortable, and I don’t recall ever seeing him again, which was just fine by me.

Although it as been over 25 years since this occurred, I often times smile about the experience and wonder if the attitude is the same or if there has been any evolution at all.

Either way, it takes many generations to change an attitude, many peeks and valleys, tears, deaths, and laughter, but in the end, we shall always celebrate a woman’s day no matter how far we have come in the journey and how far we still have to go.

 Related content:

Latin Biz Today Shares Latinas’ Perspectives on International Women’s Day [Video]

Latin Biz Today Celebrates International Women’s Day

Latin Biz Today Celebrates Women’s History Month and Salutes Our Latina Community


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