And why they deserve the biggest award this year
They constitute half of the world’s population. They have the power to bring life into this world if they choose to. They are smart, creative and strong. And yet they’ve been fighting for their basic rights even before the first Women’s Day in 1908 and are still doing so to this day.
Women. They are the backbone of our society, even though it’s still working against them. They give, they sacrifice, they inspire. And during this pandemic, they doubled down their efforts to make sure everyone stays mentally, physically and emotionally safe.
She’s a front-liner
It’s only after the pandemic hit that the word “essential workers” started being used. And this health crisis showcased not only how essential but also how overworked and undervalued these workers are. According to a study based on the demographic profile of workers in frontline industries, “Workers in frontline industries are disproportionately women. About one-half of all workers are women, but nearly two-thirds (64.4 percent) of frontline workers are women.” Women are overrepresented in the Health Care and Child Care industries, and in jobs such as cashiers and salespersons.
And when the need arose, they did not hesitate to put their lives at risk and stand on the frontline to meet everyone’s needs and keep them safe.
She’s a mother, a partner, a sister, and a friend
Most people had to work from home, as well as stay with their children, during the pandemic. However, the situation was even harder for women who are often expected to be the listening ear and helping hand for their entourage. Even if they weren’t educators, women had to step up and help educate their children, either by their interacting with them, entertaining them or help them manage online school and homework. As mothers, they still had to pay attention to every word they said and every reaction they made, to make their children feel safe and teach them the best values, regardless of their personal struggles.
And yet women arose to the occasion, bravely taking on all these different roles and responsibilities, and adapted once again to the new circumstances. They helped manage the stress, anxiety, and frustration caused by these difficult times by being there for their friends, partners, or children.
She’s an entrepreneur
Some might say that praising a woman for being an entrepreneur, an innovator or a leader is in fact more undermining than empowering. But we cannot forget how much harder it is for a woman to pave her way to success than it is for a man. A woman always has to do so much more, prove how capable she is again and again, work hard to stand out and be taken seriously, to finally be acknowledged and respected. And even though it’s sad that women still have to work so hard to prove their worth, celebrating women who achieve their goals is a way of thanking them for their courage and their efforts, and for proving that women have a place in leadership positions. Furthermore, they inspire younger generations by showing them that it’s possible to get to where they are, and making sure that from now on, they have a fair and equal chance to get there too.
Women also used the pandemic as a chance to create new businesses out of necessity. Studies have shown a surge in female start-ups, and many women are creating and launching a brand for the first time.  Moreover, research has proven that not only women were rated ‘better leaders’ by those who worked with them when compared with men, but they were also seen as more qualified to lead in a crisis. Companies want leaders “who are able to pivot and learn new skills; who emphasize employee development even when times are tough; who display honesty and integrity; and who are sensitive and understanding of the stress, anxiety, and frustration that people are feeling.” These traits being more often displayed by women, they are now rising in their respective fields and taking on more leadership positions.
She’s an educator
Last but not least, teachers who always give so much more than what’s asked of them and try hard to compensate for the lack of funding and consideration for education, had to be propelled into a new technological world they knew nothing about during the pandemic. And since more than 75% of educators are women, they were once again up to the challenge. They had to be incredibly flexible to quickly adjust to a new reality they didn’t ask for. To adapt to the virtual circumstances and keep students engaged, teachers had to go out of their way to find creative tools to make their classes more interactive and interesting. Finally, they also had to put on a brave face and a big smile every day, no matter what was going on in their personal life, to make sure their students felt motivated and encouraged to navigate through these difficult circumstances in the best way possible. Today, some teachers are also educating their students in masked-up, socially distant classes, putting their lives at risk to ensure their education and well-being. While also caring for their own children, women are raising the adults of tomorrow and empowering the youth to be prominent agents of change.
Women are the past, the present, and the future. One day a year is not enough to value, recognize and appreciate all they do, and they should be celebrated every single day for how wonderful and exceptional they are. Even today, so many women around the world still suffer from injustice, inequality and the burden of being a woman.
Women make the world better every day, it’s time to make the world a better place for them too.
 JIN RHO Hye, BROWN Hayley, and FREMSTAD Shawn, “A Basic Demographic Profile of Workers in Frontline Industries”,
 WILLIAMS Dean, Female ‘first-time’ entrepreneurs are leading the charge out of lockdown, https://www.blog.print-print.co.uk/female-first-time-entrepreneurs-are-leading-the-charge-out-of-lockdown/, 30th of November 2020.
 ZENGER Jack and FOLKMAN Joseph, Research: Women Are Better Leaders During a Crisis, https://hbr.org/2020/12/research-women-are-better-leaders-during-a-crisis, 30th of December 2020.