05 March, 2021 | Posted by Rachel Dunne

Greta Thunberg, Amanda Gorman, All Women and Girls - This Is Your Day #IWD2021

International Women's Day 2021 Portobello Institute

International Women’s Day 2021

Blog submission written by Portobello Institute Early Years Education Tutor Rachel Dunne for International Women's Day 2021. 

"I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity," - Michelle Obama

As the wonderful Michelle Obama outlined above, the people who surrounded you growing up can have a monumental impact on your evolution as a person and how you live your life.

The values you have, your morals and your attitudes can all be shaped by the people that are in your corner.

I grew up with a phenomenal support network who helped shape me into the woman I am today. With regard to the special women in my own life, my mother taught me how to be strong in the face of adversity, my big sister and my best friend showed me how to see my self-worth and arguably the most influential, my grandmother, Marie, taught me how to use my voice and to make sure I was heard.

International Women's Day 2021 Portobello Institute

Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

If we are to look through a theoretical lens, Albert Bandura’s theory on social learning suggests that children learn through the imitation of their role models. B.F Skinner emphasized the importance of positive reinforcement and how this can encourage a child to repeat certain actions or behaviours.

Let’s look at this from the point of view of a little girl, she needs role models that can show her that women are both gracious and worthy of respect.

She needs to be shown that women can be both empathetic and speak their minds.

She needs her creativity and self- expression to be encouraged.

She needs her support network to nurture her sense of self-belief.

Each and every one of us has a responsibility in this regard. We need to encourage her ideas, listen attentively to her frustrations and fears, support her in every possible way to achieve her dreams and aspirations, celebrate her achievements and
reassure her after her setbacks.

Having such support will help her to develop her own self-belief and this will drive her forward in her own life.

For International Women’s Day 2021, alongside all the wonderful women in my own circles and beyond, I choose to celebrate the young women making an incredible difference to the
world we all live in today.

Greta Thunberg, an 18-year-old woman from Sweden gave a speech to world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019. This speech has been viewed on YouTube over four million times.

At just 16 years of age Greta opened the eyes of millions of people to the frightening reality of climate change. This year, the BBC announced that they will broadcast a documentary called Greta Thunberg: A Year to Change the World. This documentary
according to the BBC, follows Greta around the world as she meets with climate scientists and discusses the consequences of climate change and what needs to be done to address this
urgent issue.

Greta’s intelligence can only be surpassed by her passion for the environment and her dedication to making the world we live in a better one.

Amanda Gorman, a 22-year-old woman from California, became the youngest inaugural poet in US history when she recited her poem, ‘The Hill We Climb’ at Joe Biden’s inauguration
ceremony on the January 20, 2021. Her poem beautifully emphasized the importance of and the need for unity in the United States of America during a time of significant uncertainty. Amanda’s creativity knows no bounds and her words uplift those who are lucky enough to hear them.

For me, International Women's Day is about the Greta Thunbergs and the Amanda Gormans of the world. Let’s ensure that we celebrate these young women.

The little girl in preschool learning about the world she lives in, the girl in primary school exploring her interests and finding her niche.
The teenager trying to balance study and her social life (that she is more than entitled to have) and the young woman starting her course in college or her first job. The woman working full
time to provide for her children and the woman staying home to ensure she can look after her children and to all the women who came before them, the women who surround them and the
women to follow – this is your day.