Today is International Women’s Day and we are celebrating this day as a part of our Women’s HerStory Month. The themes of International Women’s Day, #EmbraceEquity, and that of Women’s HerStory Month, “Resiliency on her Terms,” are close to my heart. Both speak to the complicated issue of expectations. Women in general, and BIPOC women in particular, are expected to be strong, to take care of others, to take on more than their fair share — especially in places and spaces where their value may be marginalized.
At the same time, women are criticized for resisting expectations, for choosing an unexpected path, for showing anger. I know personally, from my own lived experience, that societal expectations based on sexism and stereotypes take a toll on women — and we are all complicit in that toll, if we remain silent.
Instead, let us validate the righteous anger of women and deepen the resolve to embrace equity. Let us support women as they defy labels, as they enter nontraditional fields, as they put their own self-care first. I encourage you to take part in International Women’s Day, Women’s HerStory Month and the rich range of events that celebrate women’s contributions, that open conversations about women’s struggles, and that contextualize the experience of women in the larger cultural landscape.
At BMCC, our mission and everything we do is firmly grounded in equity and in valuing the unique strengths of every individual in our community. Women’s HerStory Month and our recognition of International Women’s Day amplifies our mission by turning a sharp lens on reproductive justice, discrimination in the workplace, the history of women’s resistance around the world, women’s equity, and other vital topics.
Our community is stronger, not just this month, but year-round, for the efforts of women and their allies. I look forward to seeing you at one or more of these events.
Anthony E. Munroe
President, Borough of Manhattan Community College