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Does Women's Month still serve a purpose? - A women's perspective.

August represents Women’s Month in South Africa (SA). During this time, South Africa shows it's respect to all the women that were fighting for gender equality, especially the 20.000 women who marched for their rights in August 1956. At the same time, this month serves to celebrate women and think about current issues that women face. To make these issues more commonly spoken about and hopefully, eradicate them.

The thing about women’s month that confronts me is the fear that this month will serve as an excuse to not talk about current issues for the rest of the year. Hence my doubt if women’s month really does serve its purpose and is remaining relevant. We should not accept that there are still equality problems. You have to stand up, not only in August, but at any time that you feel like you are not being treated as an equal, or when you see someone else not being treated equally. Women’s month should also not be an excuse for women to act as victims. Instead of standing still and realizing how you are being treated, change something about it. Show people that it can be different. Change starts with yourself, let’s make every month the month of equality and not wait for women’s month to come around. I am not saying that we should hide our past. Celebrate the women who fought for equality in 1956, but do not stop there. Don’t let women’s month form an excuse to wait. Show the initiative that is so valued in our industry and inspire others to change.

Change and development can be challenging at times. Women before me seem to eventually arrive at a phase in their career where they feel like they have to be satisfied and grateful. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to be satisfied, but it is also very much okay to not be. Don’t fool yourself by thinking you achieved everything you wanted, when in fact you didn’t. Nelson Mandela once said:

“There is no passion to be found in playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Try to exceed satisfaction. In the hospitality industry, we are trying to meet and exceed the expectations of customers and guests every single day. It is what we go to work for and in my opinion, it is the most amazing feeling in the world. But why stop there? Why only exceed someone else’s expectations? Exceeding expectations is about experiencing something that you couldn’t imagine possible. So, reach for the impossible and if you think you reached it, reach further. I have heard many times when talking with others about my goals and future plans, that I come across arrogant. Arrogant for believing that I could accomplish those plans. If striving to accomplish your goals, dreams, and standing up for yourself means that you are arrogant, then by all means, please be arrogant!

Marjolein Visser | LinkedIn

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