Happy International Women's Day!

 

To celebrate International Women's Day, we interviewed two ReDiscover staff members to learn why they think this day is important. Read more below! 
 

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Jane Cooper-Henderson MSW, LMSW, LCSW, Licensed Team Leader


Who has been the biggest influence in your life?


It's hard to say who has been the biggest influence in my life, as there have been and still are many people who are a huge influence to me.  From the women in my family, women in the media to women I associate with and work with.  Of course I would have
to say my parents- being from the culture of the Depression and WWII and my coming into the world. In the 60's- there was always that clash of a very traditional upbringing along with the changes in society taking place during that time-and what that means to me as a female (I still sometimes struggle with this to this day). However, the women in my family, no matter what generation they were a part of, always had what I considered an independent streak, from my mother returning to college later in life, my maternal grandmother and great Aunt (immigrants who settled in the US during the early 1900's) basically being widowed at a young age and forging their lives, to my paternal grandmother who had a strong faith, read the Bible every day and raised 10 children in Rural South Eastern MO- all had a huge influence on me. I find that I'm drawn to people who are diverse, intelligent, independent, have integrity, open minded, and assertive. 
People who inspire me have these qualities as well as a rich narrative in which they've always stayed true to whom they are and lived their lives accordingly no matter what.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Is it important that we have one?


International Women's Day means to me that we celebrate women, no matter what walks of life they come from and yes, I do think it's important that we have one to highlight the many ways in which women have enriched/contributed to our lives/culture/society. Women have been oppressed though out the ages and opposing messages have been delivered to them- from the opposing cultural ideals that women "should"; be virtuous, a "lady", devote self to home and husband/children to other pressures regarding our appearance and sexual appeal.  Women in the workforce who are judged unfairly (the token that a man in charge is seen as powerful/assertive, but a woman in the same position is seen as something unflattering). Also, women are not paid the same, and if you're a woman of color in our society, you’re judged even more harshly. Women have been used/abused/sainted/then condemned/shamed due to these opposing views. In our society, and even today, it is white conservative men who are creating policy regarding women';s health and their "place/role" in society.  Women throughout history have shown that they can successfully lead countries, companies, organizations, families as well as their own lives and they have the intelligence to determine their own decisions. Let women be a part of policy making that impacts
women!

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

I would tell my younger self to not worry so much about what others' may think- don't determine your life on pleasing others, but determine your life on what matters to you individually.

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Molly Davis - PR and Media Coordinator

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

My biggest influence in life is my mom. As a single mom of two, she was always teaching me about life even if she didn’t realize it. Through example, she taught me how to be independent, stand up for what I believe in, to love the people in my life fiercely and unapologetically, and to always be myself and love myself unconditionally. She continues to be a huge inspiration to me and is an example of the type of woman I aspire to become.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Is it important that we have one?

To me, this day is about celebrating the (s)hero inside all of us. The world is full of amazing, talented, smart, dedicated women and I think it’s important to teach women, young and old, that there is enough room for all of us to succeed. I think International Women’s Day reminds us of how important it is to support and celebrate each other every single day.

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

If I could, I would go back in time and tell my younger self to stop worrying about what other people think or want from me. As a young adult, I’ve felt empowered by making my own decisions and really taking the time to learn about myself and what I want out of life. I would tell myself to dream big and follow those dreams no matter how many people think I might fail.

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Gina Piccinini - Grants and Advocacy Administrator

Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

Spending time with my mom always inspired me to be strong, adventurous and independent. As a single mother, my mom did so much on her own to support my brother and I while also providing us many opportunities to explore the outdoors, travel and meet people from all over the world. She encouraged me to pursue things that made me happy and always pushed me to do my best in them. My mom was my Girl Scout leader and I watched her change the lives of so many girls over most of my life, most of whom still call her for support. She has always loved everyone, no matter where they came from, what they looked like, or how different they were from her.  I would say the one most important quality my mom has passed onto me is kindness.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you? Is it important that we have one?

For me it’s is a time to appreciate the achievements of women in our families, at our workplace, in our communities and across the world. It’s a time where women can come together, share stories, give support and motivate one another for the work that lies ahead. International Women’s Day is important for the unity and celebration of women and their achievements throughout history while also calling for gender equality.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I would tell my younger self to stop worrying so much about everything, from work to school to friends and most importantly to what people think about me. To find healthy hobbies and surround myself with positive people, who challenge me and encourage me to grow. To stop giving up on every little thing I start the moment it got difficult because I didn’t think I was good enough. To accept my weaknesses and move forward, without letting them hold me back. To go out of my way to be friends with people who were different than me.

 
Molly DavisComment