Today is International Women's Day, "a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women." It's also a day that, "marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity."
I'm very fortunate to be the father of four children, two girls and two boys: Chloë (10), Aidan (8), Charlotte (5), and Andrew (3).
In our house, my wife and I strive for complete equality. She does most of the heavy-lifting on the parenting side (including 100% of managing Charlotte's online Kindergarten class, which is a Herculean task in itself), and I'm primarily responsible for generating income for our household. My wife and I both agree the household chores are split 60-40, we simply disagree on which one of us is the "60". (That discrepancy likely deserves a future blog post.)
With the children, it's much more straightforward: the boys don't get any special privileges or accommodations, and the girls don't get any extra chores or responsibilities. None of our children receive an allowance, so we've managed to accomplish what most of the world has not: equal pay. We expect all four of our children to be kind, helpful people, and we expect each of them to excel in school. Gender doesn't matter to me when it comes to discipline: I'm equally tough on each of them for poor effort, poor grades, and poor behaviour.
I'm a long way from perfect as a father, a husband, and a man. But I do my best to treat people -- all people -- with respect and dignity, not only because it's the right thing to do, but also because I want to be a good example for my children. After all, "monkey see, monkey do"... and I can't have my kids watching a baboon.
I hope by the time my daughters become adults, more of us will have done much more for gender equality; I want my girls to be equal everywhere they are, not just inside of our home.
Plus, it would be nice if we could use every March 8th just to celebrate women, rather than also having to remind ourselves how much work we collectively still have to do.
P.S. I'm thankful for all of the amazing women in my life. My wife, Meredith, who I love and admire for her brilliance, sense of humour, compassion, generosity, and strength (and who would murder me in my sleep if I posted a photo of her without her express permission). My mother, a strong woman who only got stronger having to raise four unwavering children of her own. My three younger sisters, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law... the list goes on.
But I'm most thankful for Chloë and Charlotte, both brilliant, strong, funny, independent, capable girls I'm certain will achieve anything they wish to accomplish in life. The world can try to stop them... and it probably will.
But I already feel sorry for anyone who tries to stand in their way.