International Women’s Day 2021: Mothers Who Choose To Challenge
“A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change.” This year, we’re celebrating International Women’s Day by listening to what 7 incredible mothers want to #choosetochallenge in 2021.
International Women’s Day is here!
While this is a global day for people to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, the day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.
“IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group or organization specific.” – IWD
In 2021, we want to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.
Scroll down to learn why and how these seven incredible mothers are making the decision to #choosetochallenge in 2021!
Author, Writer, Mother & Pioneer of Black Motherhood & Mama Self Care
As the author of “Oh Sis! You’re Pregnant!” and the children’s book series, “Sunshine Honey books”, Shanicia Boswell is working hard to change the narrative of Black Motherhood. As an advocate for maternal mental and physical health, you can find her online hosting period parties, running self-care retreats and of course, curating game-changing content at @blackmomsblog. Here’s what she’s sharing what she’s choosing to challenge in 2021.
“I choose to challenge the negative statistics and stereotypes around Black maternal health by empowering and educating Black mothers through their pregnancy and motherhood experiences.
This month I am releasing my new book, “Oh Sis! You’re Pregnant!: The Ultimate Guide To Black Pregnancy and Motherhood.” Think of this as a “What To Expect When You’re Expecting” but specifically for Black mothers. In the book we cover general information when it comes to pregnancy like your expanding belly, hormones, and what you should expect but we go even deeper.
I choose to challenge the world to have more heavy conversations, like the fact that Black women are three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women.
I encourage Black mothers to speak up and use their voice.
I am a Black mother. This challenge hits home for me because I realize that the world views us from a very narrow perspective.
As the creator of Black Moms Blog, I have listened to the stories and concerns of other Black moms and know that our stories are not being told. While it is important to discuss the statistics, it is equally necessary to share the joy.”
Kate T. Parker
Professional Photographer & NYT Best Selling Author
As the photographer and author of books like “Play Like A Girl” and “Strong Is The New Pretty” Kate T. Parker is the epitome of female empowerment. Celebrated for choosing to capture images that celebrate girls for what they do as opposed to what they look like, she’s here to share what she’s choosing to challenge in 2021.
“Because of Covid, we’ve been forced to create smaller, safer worlds for ourselves. While supremely needed, I worry that we are further segmenting ourselves.
It’s hard to see past our own experiences and point of view when it is literally unsafe to see, do, go anymore.
We have necessarily insulated ourselves to remain safe and healthy, but that does come at a cost.
This year, I choose to challenge myself. So much of my work is about inclusivity and challenging stereotypes, but I want to make sure that I get out of my own bubble, to seek diverse points of view.
I want to make sure I am showcasing and capturing ideas, words, thoughts that are different than my own. I have always tried to do this in the past, but this year, it’s even more of a goal.
I think this pandemic has highlighted how vast the inequalities can be and brought them to the forefront, and I really want to help shed some light on just that.
Photography is my way of telling first-hand stories and I am so thankful for that tool in choosing to challenge myself.”
Angela Watson Robertson
Nutrition Writer & Health Coach
Angela Watson Robertson a.k.a The Reinvention Warrior is our go-to nutrition and wellness blogger and board-certified health and lifestyle coach. Known for her transformative programs designed to improve your life starting with the food you eat, she’s here to share what she’s choosing to challenge in 2021.
“I’m challenging the belief that having silver, gray, or white hair makes you old. There are plenty of people around the world who get gray hair at a young age, which is proof it has nothing to do with age.
I’m also questioning the double-standard that men look good with signs of aging yet women should cover up all signs of age in order to be valued or seen as attractive in society.
I hope that by growing my natural hair color out at the age of 39 I’ll be a part of the #silversisters revolution sweeping the world to embrace ourselves and our bodies as we are.
I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she sees her mom (and women) embracing whatever hair they have (thus embracing who they are).
2020 allowed me to get more clear about my values and what I want for myself going forward in my next phase of life: my 40’s and perimenopause with a young child. (Woo!)
Growing out my natural hair color is not only empowering (and less work!), but a part of an overall goal to love myself as I am more than I ever have before.
It’s an external representation of what I’m working on inside myself.”
Josie Rodriguez-Bouchier L.Ac. (they/them)
Queer Reproductive Health and Justice Advocate
Josie Rodriguez-Bouchier is a Colorado-based mother of two, Queer Reproductive Health and Justice Advocate and host of The Intersectional Fertility Podcast. Fiercely passionate about the restoration of ancient and indigenous systems of medicine as well as accessibility, they’re here to chat about what they’re choosing to challenge for Intl Women’s Day 2021.
“In 2021, I choose to challenge the women’s health industrial complex that caters to cis hetero white women while promoting harmful practices of weight loss, nutrition, spirituality, and cultural appropriation.
I not only want to expand the umbrella of reproductive health to serve queer, trans, and gender non-conforming people–especially those who are Black, Brown, and Indigenous, I also want to reclaim our right to exist, recover our dignity and bring respect and recognition back to our communities.
Queer, trans, and non-binary folx have existed well before colonizers invented the concepts of gender and heteronormativity. White supremacy has intentionally and systematically removed us from the conversation of our own health and reproduction and the time is long overdue to re-center the most marginalized communities among us—in reproductive healthcare and everywhere.
As a queer non-binary mixed-race fertility acupuncturist, this theme of re-centering marginalized communities in reproductive healthcare is important to me because white supremacy has negatively affected my mental and physical health and well-being throughout my life.
I want to end the cycle of passing this harm to my clients, patients, friends, and most importantly, to my children.
From striving to achieve colonial beauty standards to internalizing the pain, shame, and rage that comes from living in a world that values queer non-binary folx even less than cis straight women, it’s no wonder I stayed in the closet for so long, tending to the physical manifestations of these inner conflicts; migraines, endometriosis, anxiety, depression, and infertility.
My mission is to be a part of the restoration of ancient and indigenous systems of medicine where people of all genders, all sexualities, all abilities, all races, and all socioeconomic backgrounds are seen, valued, and supported in creating the family and life they deserve.
2020 acted like a magnifying glass that brought into sharp focus the painful parts of my past and lineage. Sitting with and processing that pain taught me how to create a new legacy of true healing by disrupting old patterns, creating healthy boundaries, and protecting and nurturing my inner child, my joy and my creativity.
I am taking these lessons into 2021 by shifting the focus of my private practice and online offerings from women’s health to Queer Reproductive Health and Justice. I will be exploring these concepts on The Intersectional Fertility Podcast that launches in April 2021, and releasing a new iteration of my online program, Fertile, that is designed for queer, trans, and non-binary folx with wombs to reclaim power over their fertility journey and increase their chances of conceiving using my proven Whole Self Fertility Method™, coming in May 2021.
Most recently, in effort to further decolonize my understanding of medicine and healing, and to heal the relationship with my own ancestral medicine, I am studying Curanderismo, the traditional Mexican folk healing system, through the University of New Mexico. Follow me on Instagram @intersectionalfertility for details and updates.”
Mother of the Incredible SUPERNOAH
When Yami Johnson was told her baby, Noah, would be born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect, she felt like the whole world wanted her to terminate her pregnancy. Yami ultimately made the final decision to continue with her pregnancy and love her baby no matter what the outcome would be. Fast forward three years and it has been a journey and decision that she’ll never regret. As an advocate for her son and other parents facing prenatal diagnosis, she’s here to challenge how doctors decide who they extend hope to.
“I choose to bring more awareness to the fact that expectant parents aren’t given enough hope when it comes to prenatal diagnosis of a medical condition.
When I was told that Noah had Down Syndrome by my genetic doctor and that he had a heart defect by his cardiologist, they both asked me “Are you terminating the pregnancy?” before they could tell me the medical options for my unborn child.
It’s almost as if you have to want this child first before they can give you hope which is something that many parents struggle with.
This is important to me because it will save many lives. If I focused on all the negative statistics that they mentioned at first, instead of the positive, I would not have this beautiful child right now to love and enjoy. It takes an emotionally strong person to move forward with a pregnancy after such devastating news.
One of my 2020 lessons is family support, and I mean immediate family. With this pandemic, Noah was unable to get the proper therapy at home so we all had to find time to help him with speech and physical therapy. We all had to take part in some way, whether it was my 10-year-old son or my adult sons, it takes a village.
Love is the secret recipe to anything and I think if we had more of that we would live in a happier world.”
Founder of Work & Mother
After hearing one too many horror stories about trying to pump in the workplace, Abbey Donnell knew things had to change. By combining her experience as a Certified Lactation Counselor and background in advertising, she launched Work & Mother, a company that provides businesses with membership options for breastfeeding employees to access fully equipped mother’s rooms and nursing support. Today, she’s sharing what she’s choosing to challenge in 2021.
“I choose to challenge the status quo in the workplace so we can better consider and include mothers.
I choose to challenge employers to be proactive and innovative in their approaches to supporting working mothers.
And I #choosetochallenge men, particularly fathers, to be just as outspoken about these needs as women.
As a working mother myself, I understand firsthand the hardships working moms endure and the impossible situation they’re in as they try to work like they don’t have children and mother like they don’t work.
Outdated, yet persistent, views of women in the workforce have caused working moms to parent in secret, fearing (with reason) that if they mention a pregnancy or their children at work, they’ll be perceived as a less dedicated worker and their job will be jeopardized.
One in three breastfeeding moms have been forced to use the bathroom at work to express milk (which is against FLSA regulations!), and more than half have pumped in unsuitable places such as staff rooms, cars, or supply closets.
As a result, many have experienced problems including supply issues, infections, and anxiety, and 43% end up quitting their jobs for more “mother-friendly” roles–a costly outcome for both families and employers.
I choose to challenge employers to be proactive about the support resources they offer their working mothers, even if they think they don’t yet have a need.
By proactively offering proper pumping accommodations, parental support resources, and flexible working schedules as a matter of policy, rather than as a reactive temporary fix, they are normalizing working parenthood and better positioning their workforce, and by extension their company, for success.”
Artist & Writer
Amy Webb is an artist, wife, mother, writer and author of the children’s books, “When Charley Met Emma” and “Awesomely Emma.” With storylines centering on disability, friendship, accessibility and advocacy, Amy has worked hard to change the narrative of what it means to parent a child with a disability. Today, she’s sharing what she’s choosing to challenge in 2021.
“I choose to challenge accessibility, or rather the lack thereof.
Like so many people, I often think of accessibility in terms of ramps, wheelchairs and curb cuts. And while those are very important, accessibility encompasses so much more.
Accessibility is about attitudes, inclusion and people who are willing to think beyond the standard able-body narrative to reach for truly creative and innovative solutions.
Accessibility is taking more time upfront to think about all bodies and all needs, so that less time and money is put on the shoulders of individuals to come up with their own solutions to the problems that inaccessible design has put in their way.
As the mother of three daughters, one of whom is a wheelchair user, accessibility is something that affects our lives every day in very personal ways.
If there is a space my daughter can’t access in her wheelchair, then usually none of us access it.
There are also far too many spaces–indoor, outdoor, public and private–that are designed with only the standard non-disabled body in mind, to the exclusion of people like my daughter and others like her–an entire population! Accessibility gives to everyone, takes from no one.”