Many of us live knowing that we are, but reflecting on what this means, leads us to think and design the way we choose to be a woman and leave a mark on the world.
This is important because, on International Women’s Day, we commemorate not only the struggle to have equal rights, but also the responsibility to exercise them; not only the value of justice but also our obligation to ensure it for the rest. Because together, but each one, we have changed the story and we’ll do it again.
These are the stories of 6 women who, from different perspectives, define what it means to them to be a woman.
MARICARMEN BERNAL: expert on gender inclusion with a business focus, and delegate for Mexico within the W20 initiative.
I’ve never asked myself, what does it mean to be a woman? It’s the first time that someone raises the subject to me. Maybe because I’m really a rounded person who doesn’t seek to explain why she’s a woman or not a woman. It’s part of my fullness and my very being. I wouldn’t understand and I wouldn’t be the one if I were not a woman.
There are three words that explain to me what it is to be a woman.
- Appreciation. I’ve only to thank life for giving me the opportunity to experience this genre.
- Privilege. I’m privileged because I was really born in a century full of opportunities to grow both educationally and professionally and having a family.
- Transcendence. It’s very important that anyone transcends, and I believe that a woman who transcends is a woman who generates impact and helps others.
Therefore, for me, being a woman is nothing other than being myself and being full.
KARLA HORTON: communicologist, entrepreneur, and sports fan.
Being a woman means being light and strength. In the history of humanity, women have been considered less than men but with the strength that determines us, we have shown that we have very important qualities and that if we complement them with the men’s qualities we can make a great team from which extraordinary things arise.
To be a woman is to be light by always dedicating ourselves with love and passion to family, friends, and work, always multiplying to give the best of ourselves. Being a woman is a privilege and we should feel proud of what we are, what we have achieved and what we can achieve.
CRISTINA MENCHACA: pedagogue, coach, speaker, trainer, blogger, and mom
Being a woman for me has been a beautiful journey of self-discovery. I come from a mostly feminine family where the role of women has been drawn around motherhood and creation. My mother taught me by her example not to depend completely on man, to seek development and always learn. I studied at a women’s college, so I never experienced any type of rejection or exclusion by gender, I was always able to participate in everything I wanted. However, I realized the complementarity with a man a little late and it has taken me several years to learn it. Now I live in a home where I’m the only woman and I have the responsibility to raise two sons (and a husband) and I do it from the value of myself. I teach them that I have passions and needs just like them and that in our home we all participate in the same way and we have rights and obligations equally.
Being a woman is a strength that has allowed me to be versatile throughout my life. Thanks to my femininity I have been able to conquer several peaks, reinvent myself and create a great network of women who have always been supporting me, sustaining me and helping me to move forward. The men in my life have helped me discover myself differently and wonderfully, and have taught me that being different helps us to be better.
I consider myself fortunate because I have been able to touch the lives of other women and I am convinced that all my life experiences have had a purpose, and I’m ready to share them with more women!
MARÍA ESTHER POZO: communicator, writer, teacher, mother and militant of the ‘Liga de la leche’
A friend says that she would’ve preferred to be a man a thousand times, because to them everything is easier, from something as simple as peeing or holding high positions within companies, in government or in international organizations. And yes, the truth is that men, historically, have enjoyed privileges that have produced a tremendous gap with women, which has been gradually closing so that, at the current rate, in 200 years we will be able to say that there’s gender equality *.
Even so, I wouldn’t change for anything to be a woman. For me, this has meant being able to live many lives. To begin with, being a mother and father (which is typical of the Mexican family, see film ‘Roma’ as the most recent example – and famous today – of this double responsibility that almost invariably takes on women). Also, move on from believing in fairy tales, looking for Prince Charming or choosing an MTC career (“While you get married”) to evolve naturally to feminism. And so I could continue listing everything that has made my life much harder, but also more diverse and rich. The best thing about being a woman? Something I haven’t seen at all among men. That which is called “sorority”: solidarity with each other and support us to death.
* Global Report on the Gender Gap 2018, World Economic Forum (WEF).
NATALIA RODRIGUEZ: consultant in market research and María’s mother.
Until 3 years ago I hadn’t asked myself this question as often. Being a woman was the biological accident that conceived me with this gender and not another. I’m Natalia, my gender is female.
Have I always liked being a woman? No. But I didn’t want to be a boy either. I mean, I didn’t like being a girl and playing only with toys as a girl or having to pay more attention to the way I sat and behaved, as well as in sports or activities I chose, in the way I spoke, what I was going to study, or all the skills / abilities that it was better to develop in order to have with what to guarantee a “life”.
When they explained to me what it meant to be a woman biologically (to stop being a girl to be a woman through the first menstruation) I felt sadness. I didn’t want to stop being a girl, lose that possibility before my friends or cousins who were still children.
Then I lived in a strange limbo of rejection on the condition of being a woman, trying not to experience duels in passing. Now I think that being a woman is hard, but I have also discovered that you can try to have more options, to value and understand the world in a different way, to take advantage of what we always have on the surface.
So, sometimes I answer this question by opening doors and other times by bearing guilt. The truth is that now I include within my boost of self-esteem or terror, this characteristic of mine. I am a woman.
SYLVIA WARDLY: social worker, lover of cultures and mother of 3
Before the big question: what’s it to be a woman for you? I come with diverse ideas that although are real, genuine and true, are answers that we don’t all share. Precisely that variety of roles and points of view are what makes us women.
I, like many others, have a myriad of facets charged with emotions, thoughts, and moods that sometimes are even contradictory. However, my honesty, dedication, sense of humor and love remain the same in each of my versions.
I can’t separate the fact of being a mother and being a woman, because for me, the day my children turned me into a mother, it was the day that life took on value and my purpose became clear: to be a mother. That’s my calling, although it took me 14 years to openly admit it because of the prejudice that “being a mom is not enough”. Today, my children are older, they’re still my engine, but now I can also explore and enjoy other exciting aspects of my life.
Mothers, professionals, married, single, homosexuals, heterosexuals and so the list goes on. We have women of all colors and flavors that with every action and decision we build what it is “being a woman” to ourselves and to the world, a privilege and a responsibility that we can’t waste.
And to you, what does it mean to be a woman?