The world would be a far better place if there were more women in positions of power, if the disparity in pay and opportunity between women and men was eliminated, if women around the globe had more freedom and autonomy over their lives and bodies.
In my travels over the decades, I have seen a common reality. Women get things done, often against great odds. When I would arrive at a place for a story, it could be Peoria or Peshawar, I would try to get a handle on what's taking place. Often the men would tell you. But the women would show you.
We have all seen that when given a chance, even a sliver of opportunity, women demonstrate they can be, at a minimum, the equal of men in business, politics, science, and every other line of work you can imagine.
So on this #InternationalWomensDay
, it is important to acknowledge all the struggles and injustices that remain. We just have seen the final major woman candidate drop out of the presidential race in our own country, a result for which gender undoubtedly played a role. We see women's rights under attack, and we must bear witness that the burden falls especially hard on women of color and other traditionally marginalized members of American society, not to mention the poor and the desperate in other nations.
But we can also take some hope in the distance traveled. When I was a child, the women who taught me in school, the family members who nurtured and inspired me, my favorite librarian who opened the world to me through books, all of these women were born into a nation that didn't even trust them with the right to vote. Stunning now, perhaps, but not then.
Today, I am pleased to see the children's sections of libraries and bookstores filled with stories of women's achievement and empowerment. It's far better than when my daughter was young, and that's partly because there's more to celebrate as walls of opportunities have started to come down over the decades. Of course these books must be read by boys as well as girls.
We have a long way to go, but I wish those women from my childhood could see how far we've come. I can imagine them saying, "you go girls." And I am pretty confident the girls and women of today aren't going to let anything or anyone stand in their way of the path to true equality.