When I woke up this morning and realised it was Women’s Day, I felt compelled to write something, my first real, non-column post on the blog for a while. But now I’m here I’m not quite sure where to start. We’ve come so far but still have far to go? I’m acutely aware that as I sit in the hallway sandwiched between listening to the big two in the bath and the baby sleeping, what on earth do I know? I’m a healthy white, British, basically middle class woman, I’ve had the priviledge of not being in paid employment and spending the day at a natural learning group with the children, they are now in a warm bath ran with clean water of which we have quite literally on tap. In the grand global scale of things, I’m pretty priviledged, bless, rich…
Although issues of gender discrimination are undoubtedly still prevalent in the richer nations, we know nothing of inequality, of hardship compared to women in certain countries. Countries where women are still not allowed to vote, to drive, to go out without a chaperone. Countries where mothers are fighting daily for their daughter’s right to education, are walking miles for clean water for all their children, where sadly, female genital mutilation is still a practice performed on young girls, where access to menstrual sanitation is at best, limited, where rape is an ingrained and almost accepted part of culture.
It leaves one despairing at the world we live in and feeling lost as to how we can help make a difference. But, each and every person that decides they want to do something to effect change is capable of making a difference. Thankfully, in part due to the rise of social media and virtual community, these trodden down people are gaining a voice. People are becoming more and more aware of the struggles of those on the other side of the globe to them. And the action you take might only seem like a small contribution but it could make the world of difference to a real life person somewhere in the world. Whether you choose to sponsor a child, to donate regularly to a charity, to become an advocate for someone who needs a voice, to campaign, to spread the word and rally others or even to go and volunteer in a country many miles away, you can do something. And surely, something is better than nothing.
A great friend of mine, wrote a beautiful song about Marie Colvin, the brave Times journalist who sadly was killed whilst reporting from Homs, Syria in 2012. It seems like a very fitting song to leave you with today on International Women’s Day 2016, a tribute to a strong woman who continued to stand for those less fortunate than herself right until her last breath.