Can you think of an amazing woman in your life?  Someone you look up to?  A woman who helped you become the person you are today, a mom, grandma, aunt, sister, teacher?   What is it about that person that is so inspirational for you and different from the great men in your life?  For most of us, the importance of that special woman has to do with the way they loved us or cared for us.  Maybe they sacrificed time, money, resources and energy for us.  Maybe they had a special way of letting us know we are valuable.  It is definitely more than just having a uterus and being able to give birth. There is something wonderful and unique about women.

There is no doubt that women are different from men. In fact, studies show that men and women are hardwired differently in the way their brains work.  While men have more connections that help them excel in spatial tasks and muscle control, woman have more connections between the two sides of the brain helping them to excel in language and intuition.  Women are often more verbal and relational, seeking connections with the people around them.  Research shows that infant girls increase the time spent making contact with faces up to 400% during the first three months of life while infant boys didn’t show an increase.   In a study of one-year-old children, the girls looked at their mother 10 -20 times more than the boys, seeking signs of approval or disapproval. The boys were busy exploring the room and rarely looked at their mother.

Knowing that men and women are wired differently should allow us to look delightfully at the unique strengths and wonders of opposite sexes. Men and women both have strengths and traits that are complementary and useful. Unfortunately these differences have led to violations of many basic human rights.  Women are not generally as strong physically as men and have been willing to sacrifice themselves for the good of their family and children.  They have been mistreated and abused throughout history. Can we not accord all people (men, women, and children) with value as fellow human beings and enjoy the differences between the genders?

Today is International Women’s Day.  A day to look at the contributions and value of women.  The theme this year (2016) is “pledge for parity”.  Parity means the condition of being equal especially in regards to status or pay.  There are still many situations around the world where women are not accorded the right to work, to own property, or escape abusive relationships. Widows in India live in deplorable conditions, many ostracized by family and society to the point of starvation.  In our Western culture, women have many basic human rights that we take for granted each day that our sisters around the world don’t have.  Today let’s celebrate the special women who have made our lives better and more enjoyable while remembering those women who struggle around the world in dreadful conditions.