It’s International Women’s Day… But We’re Tired


It’s 1848 in New York City. Several women, after being banned from speaking at an anti-slavery convention, held our nation’s first women’s rights convention.

It’s 1908 in New York City. About 15,000 women, primarily from the garment and textile industries, are marching through the city demanding fair working hours, better pay, and the right to vote.
It’s 1911 in Europe. One million women in Austria, Denmark, Switzerland, and Germany have attended rallies for suffrage, education, representation, and workers’ rights. 
It’s 1917 in St. Petersburg, Russia, during World War I. Women are marching for “bread and peace,” which helped bring about the Russian Revolution and a woman’s right to vote.
It’s 1975 at the United Nations. International Women’s Day is officially sponsored and revitalized. 

It’s 2021 in Boston, after nearly a year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Women are overworked, tired, and spread too thin. 

The aforementioned dates prior to 2021 are all important ones in the history of International Women’s Day, as outlined by the United Nations. Although International Women’s Day started as a protest, it has largely held a celebratory tone for the last few decades. It’s become a day to reflect on our achievements, recognize outstanding women leaders in all fronts, and come together to hope and work for a brighter future for women everywhere. 

It’s not a secret that 2020 and 2021 have pushed women to their absolute limits.

As a collective whole, we are far from celebrating this year. We are merely pausing for a moment in our exhaustion to take a single deep breath for the first time in a year.

This year, we’re just trying to hold it all together.

We’re caring for our children, coordinating their hybrid or at-home schooling, and handling their big emotions, fears, and feelings. But we’re still working. 

We’re grieving the temporary loss of our “mom tribes,” childcare, playgroups, and metaphorical villages. But we’re still loving fiercely. 

We’re grappling with the injustices that still exist for women, sometimes feeling the wariness right to our cores. But we’re still fighting.

Since its inception, International Women’s Day has functioned as a collective day of unity. But how do we do that when we are all currently feeling so physically divided?

Six degrees of separation has turned into six feet of separation. Even the nuances of the “knowing” smile at the grocery store have long disappeared. 

Women have always carried heavy loads. The “mental load,” they call it. Right now, we’re all feeling it, and we’re not celebrating it. This year, we’ve all proved just how much we CAN carry — but that shouldn’t mean we HAVE to carry it.

By becoming fragmented, we’ve lost some of our collective ability to share our loads with each other, and it shows.

It hurts, and we’re losing too many women along our way. 

Our fore-sisters (feminine of forefathers) were largely able to link themselves together in a concrete way, feeling their strength in numbers. Even though we cannot, maybe we could take the day to make an invisible chain, similar to when someone pays for the coffee of the person behind them. 

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #choosetochallenge.

Let’s each challenge ourselves to find one woman who needs to be lifted up — and then support her in even the smallest of ways.

Say hello at the bus stop, mail a letter, mask up and make a lasagna, leave some flowers on the doorstep, buy a cup of coffee, or make a purchase from a female-owned business. 

Let’s focus on taking one step toward being more inclusive, more supportive, more empathetic. It might feel small, but together we women can do so much.

We are powerful, strong, determined, and capable — and we owe it to ourselves, our daughters, our daughters’ daughters, and, most importantly, to each other. 

Chelsey is a Massachusetts girl through and through and currently resides on the North Shore on the New Hampshire line. In her former life, before motherhood, she was a teacher in a local high school, but now she's a stay at home mom who mostly cares for her child with special needs. She finds motherhood to be the hardest job she's ever loved and is very passionate about advocating for and educating people about neurodiverse children that may or may not also have physical or intellectual disabilities. In her "spare time" (which happens almost never) she likes to make hair bows, obsess about Disney, quilt, cook things that aren't dinosaur chicken nuggets and pretend she's good at taking artistic pictures.