Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day

Today is International Women's Day. Seeing that I spend my days and evenings working towards a better world for everyone especially women, I want to acknowledge today. This year's theme is ending impunity against women and girls. Great concept- but how far are we really willing to go for this impunity?

I would argue that one way or another we are all complicit in perpetuating this impunity. It can be by buying a product where we know the person who made it, harvested it, or sold it did not receive a fair wage or price. It can be by closing our eyes to the poverty and lack of health care, education and affordable housing that many of our fellow women must endure. It can also be by supporting political leaders who are selective about how they support women.

For example, one of my Senators is considered a major supporter of women's rights. She has coauthored and supported legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and pushed for Emergency Contraception to be over the counter. And yet at the same time, she voted for the war in Iraq and in support of Israel when Lebanon was being destroyed. Are women in Iraq and Lebanon not as important as women in my own country? Should I be supporting a politician who is selective on which women she cares about?

This is what has been going throuh my mind this International Women's Day. This, and thoughts of a local International Women's Day event take over. In my community, the same group has been organizing an event for years. They are cool women who worked to get CEDAW acknowledeged by our city council and who opened the first femisist bookstore in town.

But the didactic banking system of education event that they organize provides the same information in the same format every year. There is no dialogue and while the women talk about bridging the generation gap, they do nothing to actually accomplish this. I would like to see people leaving the event feeling that they are part of a multigenerational group of women that listen and support each other and can make a difference in the world.

I did not avoid almost falling asleep today. I wanted people to see me. I am just self-confident enough to know that I could organize and facilitate a much more thought provoking and inspirational event. Getting people to attend is another issue entirely. Oh the politics of a small city with a small town attitude in which I do not belong :)...

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