The Moment I Realised I'd Done My Job As A Mother
By Di Westaway | Founder of Wild Women On Top
“You can’t save the planet without equality. . . We need a new economics informed by the larger picture, an economy that puts women and the Earth at the centre.” - Vandana Shiva
Forgive me for bragging, but I am the proudest mum on the planet.
As I wandered the beautiful trails of the Tasmanian wilderness with my daughter recently, squealing with delight as we plunged into icy waters to test our mental toughness and chatting endlessly as we strolled through lush rainforests and along towering dolerite cliffs, I was bathed in pride and gratefulness for the amazing woman my baby has become.
During this adventure together, we tackled some tough issues, like my addiction to my device, my poor listening skills and my obsession with work. But once I got over my initial defensiveness, I was able to appreciate that I had raised a daughter with an ability to articulate her feelings, earn a living, care for her health and wellbeing, care for others and take responsibility for her life.
I realised that although I made – and continue to make - many mistakes as a parent, I had given my daughter the gift of education. She has learned how to think for herself, express herself and communicate her needs with love and respect. She has learned the importance of healthy habits and how to use adventure to inspire action. She has been given the tools she needs to choose her own future.
And now, she is sharing this with her community, and one day she will do the same for her children (if she chooses to have them!)
Research shows women influence the habits of others. And when we set a good example by prioritising our own health, we encourage others to make healthy choices too, including our kids.
In many parts of the world, when a girl turns 12 and lives in poverty, she is married by 14, pregnant by 15, and if she survives childbirth, she might have to sell her body to support her children. Her life is out of her control.
Statistics show that more than 130 million girls around the world are denied an education. And for millions of girls, the reason they are prevented from being educated is simply because they were born a girl.
Education gives girls and women the power to change their futures – to earn they own money, care for their families, leave abusive relationships, take ownership of their health and positively impact their communities.
Girls are essential agents for social change because they become the influencers of the next generation. The ripple effect is immense.
Women are creators, givers of life. We are caring, loving and nurturing. We are in touch with our feelings and emotions, which is essential for human health and happiness. But without an education, we can never be equal.
This International women’s Day, the theme is #eachforequal. The focus is on building a gender equal world through taking individual action for the collective good. And if we want a more equal world, we need to start by educating girls.
I am grateful and lucky to live in a country where education is available to all girls, where we are able to raise daughters who can make educated choices about their health and who have the power to choose their futures. It was easier for me to give this gift to my daughter than it is for so many women around the world.
Because of this, we have a power and a responsibility to help those who aren't so fortunate. To support girls who didn't have as much as we do.
And the great part is, it's both easy and fun! Come and join one of our International Wild Women’s Day hikes on Sunday 8th March, or organise your own, in support of One Girl. It's one of the best ways to educate girls and help them help themselves.