International Women’s Day: A Photo Celebration

Today we celebrate women & women’s rights as International Women’s Day highlights our progress and how to press for more amidst continued challenges around the world. I am blessed to have many amazing women who impacted my life & to have encountered many inspiring women of courage, creativity, ingenuity, faith & action during years as a globetrotting relief & development worker.

On this special day take a photo journey with me to celebrate international women (& how far we’ve come!!)  : )

This favorite photo from Morogoro, Tanzania says it all: women multi-tasking myriad responsibilities on the way home from the office (children, groceries & office supplies) – in heels, no less!

Grateful for all the women who paved the way for opportunities to work. In the movie ‘Pride & Prejudice’ set in 18th century England, Charlotte, one of Elizabeth Bennett’s closest friends married a beanhead because that was her only opportunity. At 27 with no prospects and a burden on her family, she told Elizabeth: “I’m scared.” Thank God times have changed & now women have more career choices vs. just marrying beanheads.

This photo, taken in the West Bank (Palestine), highlights the importance of education for girls – who become women.

Never take access to education for granted! It’s still a challenge in many places where girls miss the opportunity to go to school because they must tend livestock, fetch water (10 km?) and often are married off very young. Education opens doors closed to those who can’t read. Grateful to tireless educators & advocators who open doors for girls to dream of a better future so they can study and work for it.

A trained health provider in Kagera, Tanzania, represents women in the medical field – doctors, scientists, nurses, technicians. So many women serve & provide access to health care for communities in rural and urban areas.

Grateful for women who forged these opportunities in the health sector. I’ve been blessed to interact with many committed women doctors, nurses, health care workers in the battle against HIV/AIDS & malaria (& so much more!)

These busy business professors in Indonesia trained women’s micro-enterprise groups to understand their markets & develop viable products to support their families. By working together as a group, supporting each other, sounding-boarding ideas, facilitating the flow of start-up funds for the eventual success of each member, these ladies did an outstanding job equipping women for success in the marketplace.

Celebrating the success of women in business: access to markets and opportunities for more women in corporate leadership roles.

These women in Turkana, Kenya, manage the water source for their villages. Elected, selected, trained to do the job that serves their communities with the lifeline of water.

Celebrating women who serve their communities all around the world – from grass roots organizers, volunteers, managers of local resources to elected representatives, political party leaders, & Heads of State. May there be more opportunities for women leaders in the years to come.

This nun serves God and her community in Uganda, selflessly maintaining a tradition begun hundreds of years ago to be the extended arms of the love of God to those in need. Thousands of women religious serve their countries & communities in so many ways – running schools, universities, clinics, hospitals, retreat centers, relief programs.

Celebrating the continued impact of these dedicated women & those from many different traditions who lead & guide their communities to ‘keep the faith.’  Whether that’s writing, pastoring, deaconing, eldering, mentoring, teaching, volunteering, serving others – as ‘builders of love & understanding.’

This photo (taken on a moving train with the wind blowing through the open window) made me wonder what sacrifices this grandmother made for her granddaughter?  As we celebrate new opportunities, let us never forget the women who sacrificed so much to let us be who we are and can be today.

Grateful for older women in our midst who are treasure troves of experience, advice & love.  Let us honor them & celebrate their lives.

This photo represents women who have survived war & conflicts & who continue to suffer as victims of violence around the world, & those who help them, like Mirlinda pictured here in the rubble of the Kosovo conflict.

As we celebrate how far we’ve come, we still have far to go fighting violence against women, domestic abuse, harassment, and all that denigrates women into objects vs. our status as beloved daughters of our Heavenly Creator. Grateful for courageous women around the world who continue to battle for justice, awareness & support for victims to speak out and be heard, to break out of repressive systems, and overcome oppressive relationships.

To conclude our International Women’s Day journey, here’s one of my favorite all-time pics taken in Tanzania to celebrate MOTHERS.  Happy mothers.  What a responsibility & what a gift of sacrifice to bring little beings into existence & form them into People.

On this special day as many mothers juggle careers, husbands & children while others devote their all to mothering (& managing a home & a husband and, and, and) we celebrate the gift of Motherhood (& thank our moms for being all they could & would & did!)

To me it seems that being a mother is one of the most courageous things a woman can do (& continue doing! Mothering doesn’t stop, as my 80 year old Mama would have told you before she passed, ‘specially when there are grandchildren & great-grandchildren to hover over!) : )

grace, peace & gender equality

Virginia : )

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.  You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.  ~ Eleanor Roosevelt ~

This entry was posted in Advocacy Issues, Lent and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to International Women’s Day: A Photo Celebration

  1. Sparkyjen says:

    Lovely photo array with many of your beautiful choices smiling. It does take courage to be all we as women are born to be despite the obstacles that may lay in our paths. One thing I know for sure, you can step over these obstacles and continue on your way; and that many of these women do it so well, and so many times that they have acquired the tools they need to journey on victoriously. Thanks for sharing!!!

    • Virginia says:

      Sparky Jen, it is a huge blessing to have encountered these women & many more who have overcome overwhelming adversities with grace, grit and determination to become beacons of hope & inspiration for their communities & women around the world (like us.) You’re right about courage – we all need it! Blessings!

  2. Michelle says:

    Thank you Sparky Jen for this heartfelt post, inspiring pictures and tribute to the amazing women in the world! We have many incredible women who make a difference in our world but the women you highlighted are particularly amazing for all they do and endure. I saw a post from With My Own Two Friends Today. A friend of ours recently joined them on a trip of a lifetime to Africa. Their post reminded me how lucky we are in the US. I sent the women who are super human in their unbelievable tasks in life thoughts of Love, Hope and Comfort.
    Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences! 🌟

    • Michelle says:

      Thank you, Virginia for this heartfelt and inspiring post. I previously thought Sparky Jen posted it. Appreciated all of your beautiful pics!

      • Virginia says:

        Thanks Michele, Sparky Jen graciously re-blogged this post. She is someone I look up to (& enjoy reading her blog!) We do take so much for granted as women in the U.S. Although there still are many things to do working toward greater gender equity & equality, compared to some places I’ve worked where women have minimal rights, we are blessed with opportunities. Blessings to you!

  3. TMH says:

    So much good grist for the mill in this ‘moms are special’ post.

    • Virginia says:

      Hey Tim – it’s not just about moms, but I am in awe of them (not being one myself & observing my precious Mama raising five of us – all the sacrifices she made!) Blessings!

  4. Garfield Hug says:

    Happy International Women’s Day and yes, agree, a mother’s work is never done, regardless of how old a child is!

  5. Very well written and a very happy International Women’s Day!

  6. Great tribute here, Jen. I got my hair cut yesterday and my friend and I reflected for a moment to remember those women in our lives who had such an impact on us. It was a special moment.

    • Virginia says:

      Hi Jane – it’s Virginia here @ Roses in the Rubble. Thanks for sharing this blog. It is amazing to sit down & reflect how special women have intersected our lives for the better. (I did a post a few years back on International Women’s Day mentioning them all by name – it was a long post!) Blessings !!

  7. Reblogged this on Jane's Heartsong and commented:
    This montage of photos and celebration of women are so thoughtful on International Women’s Day that I felt inspired to share Sparky Jen’s blog. I enjoyed this and feel grateful. Thank you, Sparky Jen!

  8. Came here via Jane’s Heartsong…great post, Sparky!

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