It's Women's Day. My least favourite recognized day. Here's why.

Today is International Women's Day. It's supposed to be a day to celebrate women and all that women are and can be. But for me, it's not a day I love celebrating and here's why.
Side note: This email is not about emails for authors. I have another life inside the start-up ecosystem where I coach small business owners to help them get their businesses up and thriving.
The day has its roots in the early 1900's when women gathered and marched to protest inequities in the workforce and in government. And it's funny because, here we are, nearly 116 years later and we're still protesting the same inequalities. Sure, we can vote but there is still that inequality in business and the workforce and how many females are representing you in government?
For example, did you know that half of all start-ups are women+ owned? But in 2023, only 1.9% of VC investments went to women+ owned businesses?
Here in my little corner of the start-up ecosystem, I see this daily on a small scale and have even experienced it for myself.
(Last year I tried to refinance my mortgage with increased income and assets and was turned down as a single female who is self-employed. One of the comments out of the lender's mouth was actually..."It's too bad you don't have a husband to add to your application..." The rage that I felt at that moment was enough to propel me into outer space!)
The stories from my clients who tell me how getting funding as a single female applicant felt nearly impossible and that after leaving traditional funder meetings (those with banks and VC firms), they felt deflated, shame and frustration based solely on their gender. Don't even get me started on a diverse, queer female-presenting human and the exponentially higher challenges they face in the investment space.
Imagine for a moment walking into a bank as a woman of colour with a business plan that was requesting a sum of money to help start their business. The business was viable and the plan was solid. They are in their 40's. They have children. They're single. They own their own home but it's a small home. They have debt. They have a mortgage. But again, they have a fantastic idea and it's solid.
And the banker plunks down some numbers into their computer system and then turns to them to apologize but they can't fund their business. Perhaps if they had a partner or a husband? Imagine how that feels.
Think this is out of the realm of possibility? It happened last year to a client. 2023. And it happens daily to women in the VC (Venture Capital) space. Based solely on their presenting looks. Or sometimes, investment decisions are made even simply based on their name and assumptions made because of it. And for us authors, especially romance authors, even if we are earning a decent income, we're still looked down at when using that income to leverage funds.
So back to why I don't love celebrating IWD?
Because I'm waiting for the time that women don't need to be celebrated for bravely running a business or owning the C-Suites they dominate in. That they're just celebrated all the time based on their skills, their leadership, their approach to humans as resources, their financial prowess, or their unique ability to be both vulnerable and fierce and for their ability to bring profit to their passions. Not because they are happy to get one day a year where the news cycle gives them some focus. And not because they identify themselves as women+.
In 2024, my wish for Women's Day is that this day is a non-issue. And that women are celebrated. Period. Daily.
And that when they walk into a bank their perceived gender isn't part of the equation. They are judged solely on their vision and their execution of that vision.
Where they aren't labelled as brave for running a business while personally existing as female-identifying. That they are just great leaders, business people, humans who are deserving of all the accolades, all the time. They aren't brave. Would you call a man who starts their own business brave? Nope. So why are we using that language when it comes to women in business?
So, this year, I'm celebrating you every day. Laughing with you. Learning with you. Talking with you. And emailing with you.

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I just want to close by letting you know that you are amazing, Reader. For goodness sake, you write books for a living. Your words have power. And you know how to use them. I believe in your ability to put words to your dreams. XOX Holly.

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Hi! I'm Holly from Holly Darling HQ.

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