A couple weeks ago, I was in a demo prep meeting for work. There was a steady chatter as teams practiced what they would present and tested equipment. As I prepared to take notes, in case there were any, I happened to notice that while there were about 20 people in the room, only two of them were women including myself, and both named Jessica. I work in tech, so I’m not astonished by this, but for some reason today I noticed.
Then Anne bursts into the room, her team is also preparing something to demo and she just booms with a confident cheery voice “Jessica! How are you!?!?” The room turns to us, but we ignore them as they continue their setup and catch up. It’s at this precise moment that I realize that I adore the women I work with. They are intelligent, kind, patient, knowledgable and persistent on their goals, not to mention gregarious.
Cut to this past week, to be perfectly honest, I’ve never heard of IWD. I decided that I would wear red in solidarity, but I really want to go to work. God I know, what am I even saying? But I do.
I love my job and the teams I work with, they have my respect and it would pain me to ever let them down. I have a seat at the table, and it seems a bit counter productive to remove myself from this seat to show how valuable I am. I’ve earned this spot through blood, sweat, and so many tears. I’m here. If anything, I will kick more ass today.
I do however get the spirit of the movement. The idea is that we take for granted the things we assume will always be there. Only in their absence is when we really notice how much they mean to us.
Then this morning I get this text from a friend, and it changed the frame of my entire day.
It's a good morning when you start off getting messages like these. #InternationalWomensDay pic.twitter.com/26gxmDsNqP
— Jessica Cheung (@jessicacheung) March 8, 2017
We don’t need to be absent to be missed, we need to celebrate the ways in which we support and admire each other. Yes, I wore red and went into work, but I also kicked butt, helped others, and in each spare moment I had today I tried to reach out to a woman I admire and adore, and write them a personalized message of how I much joy they bring to my life and how they rock.
The responses I received were so wonderful, sweet, and positive. It’s such contrast from my childhood to have great women around me that I can call colleagues and friends. I grew up such a tomboy. I played football with my dad, climbed trees, and almost all my friends were guys.
We need to and should cheer each other on in our everyday journeys. We need to say, I see you being awesome. I notice. And maybe we don’t need to have a formalized “day” to celebrate each other, but it was a great excuse for me to spread joy today and feel … trying desperately not to be cheesy, but honestly #blessed.
Oh god, I actually did say that. But hell, I meant it.
Happy International Women’s Day!