A Fearless Future: International Women's Day, 2021

Edited by Jasmine Ryu Won Kang

I look forward to International Women’s Day (IWD) every year to celebrate women and girls across the world. Although no day should go by without acknowledging all females and their accomplishments, IWD is a chance to honor and commemorate our predecessors and look towards the future. I am proud to be from a family of strong and successful women who I have looked up to my whole life. I have also attended an all-girls school where I grew into the person I am today and took on challenges that I otherwise wouldn’t have. Most importantly, I went to a girls' sleepover camp every summer since I was a little - here I learned strength, confidence, and leadership. I could not be more grateful for my camp experience as I was surrounded by amazing women who believed anything was possible.

I am a big supporter of the empowerment of women and girls. I believe the future is boundless and you can be anything you dream. I also do acknowledge the importance of men and the value their support brings to the women’s movement. As I reflected on my past this IWD, I was once again inspired and excited that I have had the opportunity to be a part of the State Street Corporation who celebrated IWD by displaying their Fearless Girl breaking the glass ceiling on Wall Street. However, Fearless Girl was only one of the inspiring displays for IWD this year, and I have compiled a list of some of my favorite posts that had an impact on me. 


Fearless Girl

Four years ago, Fearless Girl stood in front of the Charging Bull on Wall Street in New York City. Since this time, she has been relocated to stand across from the New York Stock Exchange to challenge traditional ways of thinking. State Street started the Fearless Girl campaign in 2017 in response to the lack of female presence in boardrooms, Fortune 500 companies, and in government. However, in 2021, State Street chose to display Fearless Girl surrounded by broken glass to demonstrate how women are breaking conventional ways of the past.


Dr. Rola Rabah 

The second piece of IWD support I found empowering and unique is a picture from Instagram, posted by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMFS) I follow, Dr. Rola Rabah (@fifteenblades). She is a woman who is not only breaking into a space that is male-dominated but doing so in a strong and inspiring way. It was her caption under her IWD post that I enjoyed the most and it was something I thought everyone should read. She encouraged all women to be whoever they wanted to be and supported all possibilities. She also highlighted the need for women in every field and their value to the world. I resonated with this post because it was encouraging and inspiring to all, not just surgeons or women in STEM careers but all women. We need to support each other.


Dr. Pamela Mehta

The final piece I want to share is another Instagram post from an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Pamela Mehta (@dr.pamelamehta) who, on the day before IWD, shared a post about different forms of sexual harassment she has faced in medical school and in the workplace as a resident. On IWD she referenced her previous post and explained that she was raised to be strong and independent, but it is okay to be angry at the different forms of discrimination women face every day. We should use this anger and channel it towards a better future to produce real change. Dr. Mehta talked about the ways she fell victim to the system in her post the day before IWD. When she was harassed during her training, she let it happen or laughed it off in fear of losing what she had been working so hard for. On IWD, Dr. Mehta encouraged women to stand up for each other and to make a difference. I think her post is different from so many others because she recognized that although creating awareness is good, more needs to be done. 


These are just three of the countless women working, leading and progressing our society towards a better future for women. It is 2021 and we have made impeccable strides; however, now is the time more than ever to continue empowering each other. IWD is one day each year to celebrate all the hard work that is put in every single day leading up to it. The future is female!