International Women’s Day 2013

If you don’t know, today is International Women’s Day.  It’s a day honoring women which brings the political and social awareness of women struggles into focus worldwide, as human rights.

The first national Women’s Day was observed on 28 February 1909 in the United States, but, International Women’s Day was first observed as a popular event in the West after 1977 when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.

This year the UN theme is “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”

IWD, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) drew attention to the plight of women in prison. All over the world, women and girls living behind bars often face particular hardship in terms of protection, privacy and access to basic services, including health care.

In the past year I’ve heard about crimes against women on a daily bases worldwide. Demonized and debated by elected officials. Dehumanized, hated and raped, by the very human’s we bring into this world. It sickens me that a man can look at a woman and think she is nothing.

IWD is more than a day of celebration, for me, its a call to action.

First, I gather all of my family’s used (serviceable ) cell phones and all the accessories  and went down to the local Verizon store. They donate the phones to women shelters. These HopeLine phones are available to survivors affiliated with participating domestic violence agencies.  If the phones aren’t useable they are recycled  and the  money given to  domestic violence organizations nationwide.

Second, I went down to a local women and children shelter to volunteer my time. I did what I could to smooth the rough edges, by cleaning, washing and cooking. I handed out hugs to the children and the mothers who allowed me. I  spent hours listening to their stories, always very close to tears, because of their strength and determination to give their children a better life, and themselves. When I left I was encouraged, with the hope I found in the eyes of those children, but also in the eyes of their mothers.

This IWD, women are inspired by female leaders from around the world, but there are so many others, those that no one will never hear about, that inspire on a daily bases because of their courage to act in the face of fear.

While there has been notable progress made toward gender equality, so much more remains to be done.

We are at a tipping point. If 51% of the population doesn’t have a voice, then what future does this planet have?

The voices of women can not be ignored – anywhere, anytime, anymore – ever!

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts              of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem

Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin

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