As we commemorate International Women’s Day 2020, here is a post Virginia previously shared that is still relevant – especially for new readers of the blog!
Today we celebrate women and women’s rights as International Women’s Day highlights our progress and how to press for more gender equality amidst continued challenges around the world. As a globetrotting relief & development worker, I encountered many inspiring women of courage, creativity, ingenuity, faith and action. On this special day take a photo journey with me to celebrate international women (and how far we have come!!)
This favorite photo from Morogoro, Tanzania says it all: women multi-tasking myriad responsibilities on the way home from the office (children, groceries, and 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 pompous 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 and women have more career choices vs. marriage to pompous 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 away?) and often are married off very young. Education opens doors closed to those who can’t read. Grateful to tireless educators and advocators who open doors for girls to dream of a better future they can study and work for.
A trained health provider in Kagera, Tanzania, represents women in the medical field – doctors, scientists, nurses, technicians. Many women provide access to health care for communities in rural and urban areas.
Grateful for women who forged these opportunities and serve others tirelessly 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 and malaria (and much more.)
These busy business professors in Indonesia trained women’s micro-enterprise groups to understand their markets and 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 around the world, from grass roots organizers, volunteers, and managers of local resources to elected representatives, political party leaders, and Heads of State. May there be more opportunities for women leaders in 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 and communities in so many ways – running schools, universities, clinics, hospitals, retreat centers, and relief programs.
Celebrating the continued impact of these dedicated women and those from many different traditions who lead and guide their communities to ‘keep the faith.’ Whether that’s writing, pastoring, deaconing, eldering, mentoring, teaching, volunteering, and serving others – as ‘builders of faith, love and understanding.’
This photo (taken on a moving train in Thailand 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 and love. Let us honor them and celebrate their lives.
This photo represents women who have survived war and conflicts, those who continue to suffer as victims of violence around the world, and those who help them, like Mirlinda pictured here in the rubble of the Kosovo conflict.
As we celebrate how far we have 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 the battle for justice, awareness and 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 photos taken in Tanzania to celebrate mothers, happy mothers. What a responsibility and what a gift of sacrifice to bring little beings into existence and form them into People.
On this special day as many women juggle careers, husbands, partners, and children while others devote their all to mothering (and managing their homes) we celebrate the gift of Motherhood (thanking our moms for being all they could, and would, and did!)
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 ~