International Women’s Day – start with you
Today may feel like it is a day like every other day. We get up and do what we have to do and what we love to do. Today is a special day for me because I was privileged to be able to meditate and celebrate with my sisters. I can do that because of the women that came before me and the women my sisters have become.
I know I am who I am because of women who have inspired and believed in me. One such woman is my mum.
She didn’t get to do what she loved until later in life, and now she paints and writes. She has osteoporosis and is in constant pain, yet she smiles through it, she is intuitive, kind and caring. A woman you would want by your side. For me, she demonstrates beautifully that no matter how old you are, you can still live with passion.
Who are the women that inspire you? Who can you inspire?
All over the world women will not be able to live with passion and are still being subjected to the most horrific treatment. Their suffering is something we could not imagine and yet it happens.
A child bride dying at the hands of her husband makes the news, and we feel outraged and powerless to stop it. It’s another culture, another country, it’s far, far away
Women and young girls are trafficked into forced labour and sex slavery.
Women have acid thrown over them or killed by their own families for daring to speak out or refuse an arranged marriage.
Women all over the world are still being treated like third class citizens.
Then there are the women who give up the terror of their homelands to suffer dreadful hardship to find a better life and end up in disgusting refugee camps with little hope of finding their dream life in the near future or maybe ever.
Today on the news two friends go their separate ways. One returns home where she is not allowed to work because she fears the sea more. The other sets off to risk her life to cross the sea illegally because her desire for a better life is greater than her fear of what remaining gives her.
Despite the roots of International Women’s Day being in campaigning for better-working conditions for women, these are some of the women we need to reach out to.
How can you do something small to help change their lives?
In 1909, The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions. Un.org
Today the UN continue their campaign for Planet 50:50 by 2030.
They say ‘Over the years, the UN and its technical agencies have promoted the participation of women as equal partners with men in achieving sustainable development, peace, security, and full respect for human rights. The empowerment of women continues to be a central feature of the UN’s efforts to address social, economic and political challenges across the globe.’
In the corporate world, women are still fighting for equality, diversity and respect. Their voices, however, small in comparison to what else is going on in the world, are heard more often than the women who suffer in the far away lands.
Yet despite the work of many, still women are being treated as unworthy to run corporations or hold leadership roles. There are, of course, some amazing role models.
At home, we are typically expected to cook, clean, see to the children and earn a crust. In some homes, there is balance and equality, but many women still bear the load.
There are the women who suffer violence both mental and physical at the hands of people who are supposed to love them.
We can sit here and feel powerless to change any of this; it can seem overwhelming, too distressing, too hard and where would we start?
International Women’s Day – start with you
There is only one place to start and that is within. We might not be able to change the world, but we can change our world. We can be the change we want to see in the world. We can honour, respect and love our sisters so that they can find strength in our connection, discover their courage and passion for life.
We can challenge the mindsets of men and women who don’t believe that change is overdue. And we do that with compassion.
Today we are lucky. We can come together in circles to share our love and energy so that the sister sitting on either side of us can feel the strength of our love and know that there is someone by her side who will listen and will support her.
Today I ask that you consider the women who walked before you to enable you to have the life that you have.
Today I ask that you spare a moment to walk in the shoes of another woman who’s life may not be as great as yours.
Today I ask you to take steps to support your sisters no matter where they are or who they are, in some way.
We are the womb of the world connected by an invisible force to Mother Earth. We carry the future; we are the future. Equality, diversity, respect and love starts with us, use your gifts wisely.
Today celebrate who you are because ladies you rock
And a little something for when you get old.
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we’ve no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick flowers in other people’s gardens
And learn to spit.
You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
Or only bread and pickle for a week
And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.
But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.