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Published March 06, 2013, 11:34 PM

Positively Beautiful: In celebration of women

It wasn’t so long ago that we couldn’t drive, vote or wear pants. Friday, on International Women’s Day, we look back and look forward celebrating women’s economic, political, artistic and social achievements around the world. It’s also a time for respect, appreciation and love towards women and girls.

By: Dr. Susan Mathison, Areavoices.com, INFORUM

It wasn’t so long ago that we couldn’t drive, vote or wear pants.

Friday, on International Women’s Day, we look back and look forward celebrating women’s economic, political, artistic and social achievements around the world. It’s also a time for respect, appreciation and love towards women and girls.

In the early 1900s, women’s oppression and inequality was spurring women to become more vocal and active in campaigning for change.

In 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. They began observing National Women’s Day to commemorate, and by 1911 it became an international movement. It is now an official day-off holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Cuba, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Laos, Madagascar, Mongolia, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zambia. In many of these countries, men honor their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, often with flowers and small gifts. Children often honor their mothers and grandmothers.

We’ve come a long way. Today we have female prime ministers, CEOs, professional athletes, race car drivers, astronauts and professors. Women seek higher education at a greater percentage than men. Women can blend family life and work. Yet women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, struggle with access to health care and basic education in the developing world, and are at greater risk of violence.

Want to get learn more, be inspired, honor and support women, and celebrate? Here are some ideas to get you going.

1. Start your day dancing! My choice “Run The World (Girls)” by Beyoncé. Make a play list of girl power music for future jam sessions.

2. Watch COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg’s enlightening TEDWomen talk. She speaks frankly about taking your seat at the table and not to checking out of your career even before you leave. She hopes for a world where her young daughter can be successful but liked, too. Sandberg’s book “Leaning In” comes out next week, and I look forward to reading it. Let me know if you want to discuss it.

3. The U.S. designates the whole month of March as Women’s History Month. This year’s theme is “Women Inspiring Innovation through Inspiration.” See www.NWHP.org for more info.

4. According to Natalie MacNeil in Forbes.com, entrepreneurship is the new women’s movement. It may be secondary to your job for now, but who knows where it could take you.

Female-focused incubators and events like the ones offered by Women 2.0 and Ladies Who Launch help women entrepreneurs to build networks, gain confidence and learn from successful women. Seek mentorship and business guidance from men and women.

5. Read “Half The Sky” by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. This will widen your eyes and change your perspective on life.

6. Instead of girls’ night out, create your own good old girls club. Talk about money, politics and business.

7. Check in with a female member of your state legislature. How can you help her lead?

8. Call your mom or grandmother or both. How did they experience being a woman as they grew up? Tell her how much she matters to you.

9. Connect with a high school girl and offer to give career advice.

10. Be kind to yourself. You are deserving of celebration as you help make the future bright, safe, equal and rewarding for all.

This column was written exclusively for The Forum.

Dr. Susan Mathison founded Catalyst Medical Center in Fargo and created PositivelyBeautiful.com. Email her at shesays@forumcomm.com.

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