Hey Friends. Wow. It feels as though I blinked and February is a memory! I know it’s the shortest month, but geez, did it fly by!? Oh well, I’m excited because tomorrow, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. This day is set aside around the world and celebrated much as “Mother’s Day” only with recognition for ANY woman in your life. I love this concept because, well, I’m a woman. And I have lots of special women in my life. My own mother. My daughter. My sister. My cousins. My friends. I love that the idea is to celebrate us all! And this is no slam or prejudice against men. I have special men in my life too, and they all deserve celebration as well. (that’s why they get birthdays. haha.) The fact remains that there are women around the world that are not afforded education, healthcare, simple choices, but even LIFE ITSELF, and all for the simple fact that they were born without a “y” chromosome. Does that seem fair, just, or right? Not in my book.
Indulge me a bit while I write about why this day is important and why I pray that so many of us will, what’s the word? Project maybe? I pray that we all project our love when we think of special women in our lives. Project that love to the 14 year old girl in Africa who was raped, impregnated, possibly infected with HIV and who will likely die during childbirth because her body is not mature enough to birth that baby. One hundred and fifty million girls are victims of sexual violence in a single year and 50 percent of all the sexual assaults in the world are on girls under 15. Think about the sixty-six million (yes, that’s 66,000,000) girls who are out of school worldwide.(1) What do you think would change on this planet if more girls were in school? Finishing secondary school leads to smaller, healthier families, lower HIV infection rates, and higher wages. Educated women are more likely to educate their own children – ending the cycle of illiteracy in one generation. I know I research, stand in line, enter lotteries, do whatever I can and need to do to ensure my children get the best education I can find (or afford!). I’m sure you do as well. Project that love, People! Stand up for our neighbors around the world. Support their education. Educate yourself too. Want one great way to do it (other than reading books like Half the Sky)? Join me (I’m going tonight!) and go see this movie:
This is all also another reason to shop fair-trade which focuses on people not profits. Check out this video by Sseko, a company in Uganda that employs girls during the pivotal 9 months between what Americans would call high school and college. Most often, girls get stuck working and providing income rather than moving on to college which greatly expands their futures. I’ve highlighted their bags before. They are TO DIE FOR. Also, their sandals are some of the most comfy, versatile shoes I own. I’ll be reviewing them as soon as it’s warm enough to sport naked feet.
There may be some arguments against empowering women and what it may cost, but there is also a huge cost in denying women’s rights as well. I can’t help but believe that educated, empowered women will make better choices, allowing a positive difference in their own lives and in the lives of others.