“Why do you still not have a boyfriend?” a friend once asked my single nurse workmate. “Because I’m a strong independent woman, I don’t need a man in my life.” We all laughed, but I thought, is that what it all really means? Because if it does, I must not be it, for I constantly am in a relationship. For years I have searched for answers of what it really means and what it really feels like to be independent. I travelled to the UK to work away from home, went to different countries and wonderful places by myself, tried different exciting things on my own and guess what, it turns out that even though I was constantly in relationships, I can say that I am a strong independent woman, always have been!
As society defines it, an independent woman is someone who fends for herself, buys her own things and pays half of the bill when going out on a date. But these are just the shallow things that defines us strong independent women. In fact it also means to be emotionally independent, to not let any man or anyone affect one’s decisions if it is for her own good, and does not need validation from a man or the society to gain self confidence! Gone are the days that women are just in the kitchen cooking meals, washing dishes, cleaning the house while they wait for their husbands to come home and bring home the bacon. WE RUN THE WORLD! Okay that’s a bit too much.
Strong women are those the ones who just not settle for anything less and inspire other women to do so. They know that the world needs them to spread love and care. Take Florence Nightingale as an example, founder of modern nursing who greatly reduced the number of soldiers dying of cholera and typhoid after surgery during the crimean war. She introduced the importance of sanitation and studied the effects of it using her mathematical abilities and even developing the Polar Area Diagram, also known as coxcombs. Did anyone ask Florence to do these? Of course not! She was passionate enough to do this on her own and did it for the betterment of people within her care.
Today, 8th of March is the celebration of International Women’s Day. It is a celebration of women’s right to vote, but it is more than that. It is a celebration of womanhood, independence, gender equality. It doesn’t mean to be independent and not needing men in your life. It is about being with men (we really can’t get rid of them seriously) but still having the voice to say what’s on your mind, being confident enough to put things in order, taking in charge of your own life but being responsible enough to make decisions for the good of many, inspiring women to not be co-dependent and show them that relationships do not define who they are and finally, finding happiness on your own. Be that woman who knows what she wants and what she needs! Ride your own journey, make your own history, spread your love to the world, because that is what women do best, like the Lady with the Lamp – Florence Nightingale, be the light to those within your reach and in need of care, understanding and compassion, for the world will always need our feminine touch! Happy International Women’s Day everyone!