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‘I am standing up for all women’

Catherine Glenn Foster, President & CEO of Americans United for Life, shared the following reflections to mark International Women’s Day:

As I celebrate International Women’s Day, I am standing up for all women. For our right to exist, for our right to be free from harm, for our right to participate in society just as much as we choose, for our right to do all these things in the fullness of who we are and were created to be, which for many of us includes parenting.

What a beautiful day to celebrate women and all the unique gifts women bring to the world, including children! My family and my children are such an incredible, profound blessing in my life, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. But the best part is, I don’t have to. I work with a community that appreciates children, that celebrates when I take the time to drive one of my children to camp (and get roped into teaching archery to a hundred preteen girls!), or read them books, or take them on a field trip, or have a snowball fight, or bake them birthday cakes. A community that equally celebrates when my children come to the office for the day or join me as I give a speech or testify on a bill, that doesn’t expect children to be hidden away, seen only in desktop photos and certainly never heard.

(I have dear friends who love to fondly reminisce about the times I’ve traveled the world with an infant in my trusty old BabyBjorn, or nursed a child backstage before walking out and addressing thousands of people, or rocked a child as I addressed a parish hall of the faithful on how they can support and protect the most vulnerable among us.)

A community that celebrates the richness and diversity of life and supports a true work-life balance that beautifully blends the two into who we as women are, unique to each one of us and each one of our stories. I would love to hear your stories … how you blend the different aspects of your life into who you are, or the roadblocks you run into as you try to do that.

And I want to encourage and challenge each of you – any society that tries to make us change who we are to try to fit in, that does not accept each of us as we are, in the fullness of who we are and who we are becoming, is the problem, is what needs to change. We are making progress: with healthcare outcomes, with pregnancy discrimination protections, with parental leave.

We still have a long way to go. But step by step, with the vision of equality in our eyes, I know that women and advocates all around the world are coming together and turning justice into reality for us all.