I’m always in awe of how it comes so naturally for women to compartmentalize our mentality when facing inequality and injustice as if we were built to cope with it on a regular basis — “you gotta advocate for yourself,” but also “you gotta perform at work,” and also “you gotta take care of your family, watch out for your own safety, look put together, be chill, have a positive attitude, oh, and make sure you still have time for #selfcare.”
If the problem of inequality was never created by women, why are we held accountable for resolving it? How did it become our problem and where is the role of men in gender equality?
In all fairness, we’ve made some really remarkable progress in shortening the gap, and the efforts that men have contributed in this journey are undoubtedly worth acknowledging, but there are times and places when and where it feels like we take two steps forward and then five steps back — there is so much more to be done, particularly for women of color and women from minority groups. Intersectionality is critical. Adding the recent news from abortion rights to what’s happening to women in Iran on top of everything else women already have been dealing with, I couldn’t help the feeling of restlessness. My heart sank. Sure I’m neither from Iran nor know their country that well, but as a woman, I see myself in them and themselves in me. I see Mahsa Amini.
My purpose in sharing this is never to make anyone (including myself) feel guilty about not being able to change the situation, but rather for us all to reflect on what it means to be a woman in an unequal society. Even when it seems impossible to understand, trying helps us cultivate our empathy and turn it into compassion to support each other in moments of darkness. And let's not do it alone.
I was deeply moved when I had a conversation about this with my dear friend/colleague Donya Feizbakhsh who is a woman of Iranian descent, and I encourage you to read her sharing here, too.