Today is International Woman’s Day. Yearly a day is set aside to honor women around the world, but also to bring attention to areas where changed needs to happen. This year the theme is broad and wide.
“Make it Happen”
Is it sports? Bring more attention to women in sports and the amazing,strong women athletes. Open up the world of sports for girls all over the world.
Is it the arts? Encourage women in this area, stressing what women can bring to poetry, acting, visual arts, and music.
Is it leadership? How can women be encouraged to both take more leadership roles and empowered with help to be able to both care for a family and exercise leadership outside the home?
Is it medicine? Science? Business? Engineering? Financial independence? In each area there is opportunity for growth and change.
And I agree with all those. But none of those things can happen without women feeling safer and stronger.
It’s like the International Women’s Day planners have skipped over Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. They’ve gone to the top – self actualization, when so many women in the world today have not even reached first two bars of the hierarchy: physiological and safety. If a woman doesn’t know where her next meal is coming from, it’s highly unlikely that she’ll be looking to start her own business. If a woman fears her community or her home, she will not be able to create, to learn, to grow.
In Iraq, Yezidi women have been systematically targeted by ISIS, kidnapped and taken from their families and communities. In Syria women flee over the border trying to escape the chaos and violence of their home country. In India women fight against rape culture and the distorted views of women. I could mention hundreds of other situations where anything like sports, art, leadership is far from the minds of the women who wake up every day to a reality I can’t even imagine.
So yes – let’s make it happen! Let’s make safety happen. Let’s make food security happen. Let’s make clean water availability happen. Let’s make security of body and mind happen.
Let’s make International Women’s Day not about a privileged few, but about the marginalized majority!