Monday, March 10, 2008

International Women's Day

I've been wanting to show this photo of Ewurama
March 8th was International Women's Day. I am a woman and I have never celebrated it, neither in my native Ghana nor here in Canada. Even more interesting is the fact that I have never been invited anywhere to celebrate it, and I get invited out a lot.

This auspicious day (I like that word-auspicious)was birthed early in the 1900s, precisely 1908 by the Socialist Party in the United States, where women were struggling for the vote, shorter working hours and eventually, public office- in other words " suffrage." My first encounter with that word 'suffragette' is memorable because I heard it on the musical movie Mary Poppins, and Mary Poppins was nanny to the children of a suffragette, who shouted,"Votes for Women" or may be "Vote for Women".

The day was birthed more than once, as Scandinivanian socialists decreed it to life, and it is here to stay. So why don't we hear more of it? Has it only remained with suffragetes or feminists? Isn't this something all women, indeed all society ought to celebrate whether in churches or neighbourhoods or simply among friends and relatives? Shouldn't it be a day for resolutions and undertakings, not only politically but on a more local, community, workplace level where we can decide to encourage girls at school, women who want to return to school for an education, increase employment for women in management, improve pay, access to child care, security and community leadership positions? Wow, but that's all political! I guess in the end it is really about power sharing and equality.

So go out to coffee, eat, think, talk about it: Is your home, church, work place, and school a place where equality exists for women and men? If this is not the case what can be done to make our world more accessible to all?

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