Happy international women’s day! We have been given an entire day to stop and celebrate our womanhood and also to pause and consider our sisters and their present suffering around the world. As much as how we celebrate our ability to be women of strength and influence, we also can acknowledge that half of the world’s women are still oppressed. Until all of us are free, we still have work to be done, not only on ourselves but for others as well. To celebrate International Women’s Day, I caught up with some of the women of our nation and asked them how do they define their own womanhood and what does the future look like for women worldwide? I loved their answers!

Elizabeth, Author, Artist, Motivational Speaker
My womanhood means my God given ability to birth. Not only children but ideas, designs and salvation in others by my example.

Francis,  Digital Marketer
What it means to be a woman to me is to embrace the gender role that applies to me, to be free to be able to be compassionate and nurturing. I do not have to compete with men because our role as women are completely different and special in their own right. Embrace your body as a woman; your mind and your soul for we were designed in a very specific way and we should not try to alter that.
The future for women worldwide for me personally is not necessarily a positive one as women are being driven to be something they are not intended to be rather than allowing themselves to be who we were created to be. I pray for women to follow their instincts and allow themselves to be beautiful women and to not turn into the perception that many women have of men (cold hard men) yet with female bodies. Stop running a race that was never intended for you to run.

Evedea, Project and Event Manager
A woman is a nurturer, educator, in most cases a primary caregiver taking care of her loved ones even when she herself is in pain or ill. In society and the workplace in general women have so much more to overcome, be it various forms of discrimination or stereotypes, in order to gain their rightful place and, garnish respect and support from not only men but other women in their midst.
The opportunities are endless. I’d personally like to see more woman in top positions in any sphere, more female scientists, inventors and leaders alike. In the same breath I’d want these women to help uplift other women and for the pattern to be replicated down to grassroots and be contagious to any gender. It’s unfortunate that sometimes in the quest to be the best and get to the top, women often trample on each other to survive in what is called the “man’s world” in order to prove their worth… a somewhat “unhuman” approach. It’s only when we uplift and invest in each other that we will grow stronger. There is an ubuntu saying, “A person is a person through other people.” The success of many has a greater impact in the world than the success of one person and even more so if that group has the support of the global community. Let’s be the change we want to see.

Octavia, International Certified Image Consultant, Etiquette Advisor & Personal Development Coach
To me, being a woman, in the first place is being assured that I am wonderfully and fearfully made in God’s image and I need to embrace it daily otherwise I will never survive the pressure and expectations associated being a woman. To be a woman means acknowledging my weaknesses and strengths that come with being a woman, the strength which differs from woman to woman, culture to culture and race to race. Being a woman means breathing life into MY FAMILY, COMMUNITY, COUNTRY and the WORLD (know who I am and what God called me to be). I define my success and celebrate the authentic me God has created to be.
Women are the future of the economic world, internationally. The world is crying for more leaders of POWER, PURPOSE, PASSION, PRIORITIES, CALLING, CHARACTER, VISION, GROWTH, GIFTS and of COURAGE. We desperately need leaders who care about more than their own popularity. We need brilliant, creative, honest and caring people to lead our world and these incredible qualities can be found in women. As women fill the crucial positions, THE FUTURE WILL BE SIGNIFICANT! COMPLETE TRUTH: Women know how to completely surrender to God and remain faithful because God can be trusted as a great source of guidance to lead His people and the world.

Bianca, Veterinary Nurse
I truly feel honored and blessed to be a woman; and when I think of all that we are, my heart swells with pride. Women are so capable of what seems to be two extremes. We have the ability to be humble yet bold. We have the ability to be vulnerable yet courageous. To me, being a woman is about learning to encapsulate these two extremes. It’s about discovering who God made me to be. It’s about shaking off the words that people have spoken over me – telling me who I should be, how I must act, or look, and instead looking to God for these answers. For me, being a woman isn’t so much about becoming but rather returning. Returning to the person God created me to be, before the world told me who I should be. It’s about saying no to the status quo. It’s about choosing the right path, knowing that it may not be the easiest. It’s about speaking up and not being afraid to be seen and heard. I feel that this is my mission statement as I move and grow from a woman in my 20s into my 30s, my 40s, my 50s and so on.
I recently read a book from a woman’s perspective during the 2nd world war. Before the war, women weren’t really allowed a voice; they either became nurses or teachers and it was frowned upon if they wanted to further their career, in general they didn’t have much say at all. Once war broke out in the late 30s, all able bodied men were called to the frontline, leaving businesses, factories etc. without employees. Where women were once forbidden, they became the nation’s only hope. While men were at war, they were fighting with weaponry and ammunition made by these women. It was women working in the war industry building ships, aircrafts and vehicles. It was women that stood up and filled these holes that the world had previously considered man’s work. It was women tending to the injured and the broken. It was women out on the streets during the air raids, ensuring people were safely off the streets and in bomb shelters. It was women placing other’s needs before their own and putting their life on the line as bombs dropped from the sky.
I felt so empowered as this book seems to capture the true essence of women. Warrior women. We are called to be warrior women. And that is what I see for our future. Women rising up and realizing who they are. Women being bold and courageous. Women speaking up and fighting for justice. Women not afraid to put their lives on the line as metaphorical bombs drop from the sky. The future for women is bright and hopeful; and I am so honored to be a woman in this generation.

Robyn, Accounts Manager
This question is really tough to answer. I guess being a woman means having to “be” whatever is needed, whenever it’s needed. To put a smile on your face and be a pillar of strength for those you love and care for, even when you don’t feel like it. It means accepting yourself, the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can handle 100 different things that happen in 100 different ways. Almost daily you do this with the grace and strength that God intended only for a woman.

Renay, Mother and Entrepeneur
According to me, nothing because I don’t like to limit myself personally, physically or mentally.
The future for women is good! Women are taking over the workplace! Just for interest sake there is a huge number of women in senior positions in the Western Cape alone – this is a glimpse of our future!

Ann, Business Owner
Running a home, putting the needs of your family first while having to work and contribute financially towards it. Often at a cost of putting your own needs aside.
The future for women? Equality is not where it should be, it has improved but there are still so many countries around the world where women are discriminated against. Gender equality needs much work so the future does not look so bleak across our borders.

What is your definition of womanhood? How can you celebrate all you are as a woman today?

Wishing you an amazing Women’s Day!

About The Author

Lauren

Lauren is a social justice journalist who writes about womens lives, their stories and their global impact. Her work on social justice has included articles on women abuse, gendercide, female ritual servitude, female literacy and the plight of child brides. She currently has three books out and her third, a biblical novel entitled Yehudit Chosen by God, won the Desmond Tutu - Gerrit Brand Award for the best debut Christian novel of 2017. Lauren's heart is to encourage women in their daily lives and challenges, she is an international speaker and a full-time writer. Visit her website and read some of her work over at www.laurenjacobs.co.za

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