I am excited that this year’s theme for International Women’s Day is:
Go ahead. Take the pledge. Add your voice!
The official website encourages us to “celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.
Yet let’s also be aware progress has slowed in many places across the world, so urgent action is needed to accelerate gender parity”
Even as leaders across the world are pledging to take action as champions of gender parity, I thought now is a good time as any to celebrate some women I admire on a daily basis. They live with a purpose, start their day cheerfully and make it happen every single day.
Let’s meet them at their workplace!
This construction worker, ever smiling, always shows up for work every single day regardless of the weather. She moves from project to project in our area and will probably be around for a while until she moves on. She’s like a little ray of sunshine.
At 7 am every morning, she sets up her little vegetable shop. When it gets really warm, she just moves her gig to a shaded spot. And yes, she smiles most of the time. She’s kind to her customers and doesn’t mind her fellow-business women’s shops when they have to step away to feed their baby/have lunch/bring their kids from school/relieve themselves.
This one, oh, she’s so sweet! She’ll make sure you know why you’re buying a particular veg and make you buy a couple more. No harm done. In fact, win-win for both her and her customer. She brings fresh vegetables and cleans them before she sells them. Oh yes, she also uses one of the veggies as a “weight” for her weighing scale! Point that out and she’ll smile indulgently, and add a couple more to your bag.
If the roads in our area are clean, she takes the credit. Authoritative, ruling over everyone, she’s been doing this consistently for over 20 years. She says she’s happy as she is, and that the kindness of people she meets is what matters most.
She won’t talk much. She cannot afford to be distracted when she works, breaking that limestone and making the powder that is used to make designs outside the front door of homes and temples. Very important job. She’s involved, committed and, you guessed it, works with a smile.
She weaves garlands and sells them with love. Never hesitates to add an extra length to the bag. Generous to a fault, she’ll call out to regular customers and give them flowers to wear; it doesn’t matter if they don’t plan to buy them. She radiates warmth. If you’re thirsty, she’ll offer you water to drink. Or tea.
Ratna is an autodriver and a courageous one. Here is her story.
Striving for equality is not about a feminism that burns its underclothes. It is about not being gender-biased and living in harmony, with equal respect and recognition for both genders.
Some empowering quotes to inspire on International Women’s Day
“A feminist is anyone who recognizes the equality and full humanity of women and men.” ―Gloria Steinem
“Feminism isn’t about making women strong. Women are already strong. It’s about changing the way the world perceives that strength.” —G.D. Anderson
“I love to see a young girl go out and grab the world by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.” Maya Angelou
“I raise up my voice—not so I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard…we cannot succeed when half of us are held back.” Malala Yousafzai
“Feminism is for everybody” Bell Hooks
“I hope the fathers and mothers of little girls will look at them and say, ‘Yes, women can.'” Dilma Rousseff
“The idea of being a feminist: so many women have come to this idea of it being anti-male and not able to connect with the opposite sex, but what feminism is about is equality and human rights. For me that is just an essential part of my identity.” Lena Dunham
“I believe that the rights of women and girls is the unfinished business of the 21st century.” Hillary Clinton
Did you see the fabulous Google doodle today? Enjoy! #OneDayIWill