Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a magic wand that could undo all the bad things we’ve done in life, in history; the things we regret, the things that have hurt others, the things that haven’t made the world a better place. Unfortunately, we can’t.
But what we can do is help shape a better future.
Even though I’m not responsible for all the injustices against women throughout history, as a member of the gender who has been responsible for most of it, I’m claiming the right to apologize.
I apologize to all women.
Men have abused their positions of power. We’ve abused you and held you back. We’re sorry.
The injustices against women by men range from verbal abuse, withholding of rights, subordination, sexual abuse, physical violence, and the plain fact that for most of history we’ve failed to recognize them as equals. As Oprah Winfrey said, “Times Up.”
In many parts of the world the pendulum is starting to swing towards gender equality. We have a long way to go. Let’s not pretend that it’s going to be easy. But also, let’s not think for one instant that we can’t make it happen. We can add to the momentum by contributing to positive change. I wish I could say that there’s no need for us to be intentional about striving for gender equality, that it’s already happened, or it’s well on it’s way and doesn’t need anything else to create more momentum. I disagree. Even though the last quarter century has seen significant improvements, we still have a way to go.
There are strong beautiful women today who have been fighting this battle for decades. I’m not saying they need help from men to create a world where they’re valued equally in all aspects of life. However, it doesn’t mean the world isn’t a better place when men and women partner in an effort to reverse centuries of injustices. We have a long road ahead of us, we might as well do this together.
I’m launching this blog series, Strong Beautiful Women, because I believe if men acknowledge the work to be done to attain gender equality and help fight the injustices against women, we can, along with women, create a culture where gender equality becomes reality.
As a man it’s important to understand the positive role I can play. It begins with how I treat the women around me, with how I respond if men around me talk negatively about women, with how I encourage women who are pushing back against some of the crap that has held them back.
I urge all men to know the positive influence they can have on the males in their lives. A young boy’s attitude towards women can be shaped in a positive way by seeing strong male role models embrace gender equality. Men can also have a positive influence on young girls and young women by simply being men who treat women as they should be—equals.
My entire life I have been surrounded by strong beautiful women. I want to make a small contribution to creating a world that supports gender equality by highlighting these women, by telling a small part of their stories, by being a man who sees the beauty of their strength.
The women in the picture above are some of the strong beautiful women I’m surrounded by. They continue to amaze me. I thank them for being part of my life, and for helping to shape me. In this series I’ll be sharing their stories. They have lived rich lives in which their strength and beauty made the lives of those around them better—they’ve definitely made my life better.
From left to right:
Top row- Silvana Dunlop (my sister-in-law), Manon Loiselle (my sister), Judi Authier (my wife), and Sharon Carr (my friend).
Bottom row: Lisa Dunlop (my sister-in-law), Jeannette Authier (my mother), Joanne Charbonneau (my sister), and Lyne Patenaude (my cousin and friend).
They are strong beautiful women.
I encourage other men to post something positive anywhere on social media about the strong beautiful women in their lives. It can be as simple as their picture and perhaps a simple line about their strength and beauty. Use #StrongBeautifulWomen
Be sure to read about all the strong beautiful women whose stories I’ve highlighted in this series by clicking here to scroll through a complete list.