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!!) : )
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.
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.
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!) : )
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 ~