Opportunities for women and overall gender equality have increased substantially in recent years, but significant barriers still exist. Barriers, such as, gender-based violence, unequal pay, and limitations in education and political power prevent many women from using all their talents to benefit society. Women all over the world experience life in multitude of ways and not all women are afforded the same opportunities.
Marwa is a 28-year-old doctor, mother and wife. She works at a hospital and is one of the only two female doctors in her department. Let’s travel through one woman’s typical day with Marwa.
Marwa wakes up at 5:00am, and gets ready for her long day at work. She prays, drinks her coffee with a bagel, prepares breakfast for her husband and kids, and drives to work. She leaves for work before her kids wake up, and this makes her sad. However, she loves being a doctor as well.
Marwa Arrives at Work
Once Marwa arrives at work, she takes a deep breathe and checks in with the nurses on the unit. She gets updates on all her patients she will see for the day, and begins her rounds.
Within the first hour, she is yelled at by a patient who says, “Women should not be doctors”. Later in her shift, a doctor aggressively questions her diagnosis of a patient. Throughout Marwa’s shift she faces negative comments, yet she continues to support her patients. Although she remains headstrong and positive, it begins to wear down on her. Marwa’s team of nurses, doctors and staff see themselves as a collective and supportive unit. The team uplift and encourage Marwa to tap into her inner strength and she feels confident speaking up for herself. She gathers enough inner strength to finish her shift. She leaves her shift after a long day at 7pm.
On her drive home, Marwa thinks about all the chores she has to do once she reaches her home. She has to prepare dinner, run the laundry, bathe the kids, and put them to sleep. Marwa’s role as a parent is very important to her and she loves her family deeply. Nonetheless, Marwa is exhausted.
Marwa enters her home, and her beautiful children come running to her. They both instantly tell her about their day. She embraces her kids and hugs them deeply. Her husband then comes and gives her a kiss on the head. After hugging, Marwa goes to the kitchen to start dinner only to realize that her husband has already cooked it. Her husband, Adam, and the kids prepared dinner and set the table for the family to eat together. After dinner, Marwa and her husband load up the dishwasher, bathe the children and put them to sleep. She realizes that she is not alone, and has a strong support system in her husband, children and coworkers. Once everyone is asleep, Marwa takes a small break, drinks relaxing tea, and heads to bed to start it all over the next day.
How can we support the women in our life?
As Other Women: Uplift one another and encourage each other towards growth in life, advocate and speak up with another.
As Men: Listen to the women around you, ask them how you can support them, listen to their stories and struggles, advocate for their rights.
Young Adults: Advocate for women’s rights, take part in community conversations and engagements on topics of equality, Help the women around you.
Children: Help out the women around you, for example, your mom, sisters, grandmothers. Ask mom what you can do to help with chores or tasks.