A Case for Being SelfishFeb 28, 2023 09:00AM ● By Nancy Seigle
by Danielle Massi
March is National Women’s History Month, a time to recognize the cultural and societal impact women have made throughout our history. Women have fought for equality for over a century, with the first documented women’s rights march occurring in 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York. Although this fight has endured for 175 years, there are still more strides that need to be made, with women still earning only 84 percent of what their male counterparts do and women of color are earning even less. Research shows that women are penalized at work for having children, a phenomenon known as the “motherhood tax,” while men are rewarded with more earnings after becoming a parent, which is recognized as the “fatherhood bonus”. And the pandemic brought attention to the obvious workload disparity between men and women, since so many people being at home made the discrepancy in workload amongst genders impossible to ignore.
Despite the fact that women carry a disproportionate amount of the workload, they are also more likely to be punished for taking care of themselves while men are rewarded for it. In fact, the word selfish has been weaponized against women for decades. So, while men are taking the time to connect with friends to watch a sports event, go out to a happy hour with colleagues or work out at the gym a few times per week, many women that attempt to do the same activities are often chastised by their partner, scolded by their families or shamed by society. And this won’t change until women take control of the narrative.
The theme for this year’s Women’s History Month is “Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories,” and this is exactly what we all need to do. We need to tell our stories. We need to speak out against gender disparity. We need to put a spotlight on inequality if we ever want to create real change for ourselves and for our daughters. And that begins with unapologetically being selfish.
For the women that are reading this, use these words as a catalyst to prioritize ourselves this month. Think of how we can create boundaries around our time, create more evenness in our relationships and begin putting ourselves at the top of our to-do lists. This year is officially the year of reclaiming selfishness and making it our own.
Danielle Massi is a bestselling author and founder and CEO of the SELF(ISH)philly Conference.