International Women’s Day is, among other things, an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements.
For this special occasion, exceptionally, I feel the need for a more personal note in this open letter.
I am 43 years old and looking back, I have proudly achieved two goals in my life. I have three children and I have a position of responsibility.
Yet, the cost of my achievements is high: I am steering a boat, night and day, against all odds, to bring my whole world to a safe harbor. Of course, I am co-driving this boat with my extraordinary husband, but we’ll talk about him on November 19th (#internationalmensday), promised!
I always aspired to be in a job that made me feel good. Today, I am fulfilled. Luckily enough, I was given access to education, let’s keep in mind that on our Planet Earth, this is still not a given for all women. Becoming co-CEO of a Foundation that fights for equal pay is a huge challenge but above all an incredible opportunity to work in line with my values of justice and equity.
But the road has been long and full of pitfalls. Especially when we decided to have children.
Pregnancy was a time of upheaval and contrasts. The body changes. Fatigue and emotions upset your life. But at work, I had to keep going. I could not give up. I had to continue performing well, without showing any weaknesses. Stop working to take care of myself and the baby? No way.
The births? Endless joy, but also sleepless nights, worries, viruses, all kinds of troubles. And whatever happens, you have to be back on track.
After each birth, I went back to work. I hardly dare to think about the nightmare of childcare facilities… Will I get a place for my child? Will my schedule fit with their availabilities? What will I do when my child is sick? Adapt, look for solutions, stay the course. This ship cannot be wrecked.
When, as mothers, we arrive at work, we have already lived a thousand lives at home. “Oh look, it’s raining, where is your second boot? Why are these too small? Let me get your raincoat… hold on it’s in the cellar. Come on we’re late, let’s run… “ and of course, we arrive soaked for the weekly 9 am session, in sandals and a t-shirt…(sigh…).
Not to mention the doctor’s appointments, dentist, extracurricular activities, sports, housework and administrative tasks.
In short, with these few lines, I would like to pay tribute to all the women who, besides being a mom, struggle to achieve their ambitions in a patriarchal system and never give up.
Let’s continue to fight for more childcare facilities, equal parental leave, equal pay for work of equal value, equal opportunities, access to part-time positions for both parents, job-sharing, individual taxation, intolerance of sexual harassment and all those little and big things that will add up to eventually achieve gender equality.
Lisa Rubli, co-CEO of the EQUAL-SALARY Foundation.