International Women’s Day #FeministRecovery

Today is International Women’s Day.

I welcome the day when we don’t need a day to remind all humanity of our right to equality, equal rights, equal pay, equal justice, not just women but every human on this planet regardless of race, gender, socio/economic status.

I welcome the day when glass ceilings do not need to be broken. Glass ceilings don’t exist.

I welcome the day when girls’ bodies are not mutilated, when education is not denied, when child-marriages are decried and girls are not afraid to speak their minds and pursue their dreams.

I welcome the day when females of all ages can walk the streets without the curse of catcalls polluting the air around them. When a late-night walk alone is not accompanied by the fear of rape because some men believe it is their right to do what they want, how they want, when they want with the female body.

And I welcome the day when the feminine body is no longer used as a weapon of war. A weapon called rape; a tool strategically deployed to destroy entire cultures, to enforce social control, to terrorize women and children whose only crime was to be trapped by advancing forces of conflict as they tried to flee the battleground of wars killing the very children women gave birth to.

And I welcome the day when the things women do to give life, support life, nurture life and safeguard the future of families, communities and all of humanity are not cast off as secondary to ‘men’s work’. A day when ‘women’s work’ is no longer denigrated but recognized and celebrated as necessary and as vital as breathing for every single human on this planet.

_____________

A few years ago, my eldest daughter and I had a conversation about women’s issues after she was cat-called as she walked down the street.

So much of that behaviour, I told her, stems from an ancient belief codified in histories written by men. A collective history that deems men worthier than women. Even the Bible begins with God as a male deity sitting at the head of the all-male Holy Trinity of The Father, The Son and (in my childhood lingo of the Catholic church) The Holy Ghost. Where was the Mother of God? Wouldn’t She have had an integral role to play in the formation of life?

That idea of being worthier than woman impregnates much of our collective consciousness around women’s rights and the right, which some men believe they possess, to treat women as objects.

And while, in speaking with my daughter, I didn’t actually say, I blame ‘the church’, my feminist soul struggles to understand how 60,000 people (mostly women) could be burned at the stake in the name of God or that in the Catholic church, women continue to be deemed unworthy of direct communion with God through the priesthood. Yet, in the US, even though Olympia Brown became the first woman to be ordained, with national approval, as a minister in 1863, around the world today, women continue to fight for the right to be deemed ‘priest-worthy’ in many denominations.

And I wonder… Which part of women’s history does the Catholic Church celebrate? The one where women were burned at the stake? Where they are still not able to break through the papal decree sheltering men on God’s side of the confessional booth keeping women on their knees before God their father? The one where the virgin womb is still a prerequisite of the marriage bed and where millions of women and girls are denied the right to contraception? Or the one where, as long as women stay in their place, the church will allow them to be celebrated as equal members of all God’s children?

Sure, we’ve come a long way, baby, but there is still so far to go to ensure every human being on this planet is treated as precious as the miracle of life that gives us life through a woman’s womb, whether virgin or not.

Until then, I shall stand with all my sisters, and those brothers who stand with us, as we call out in one voice for equality, justice, dignity and respect for every life on this planet we call our home.

___________

I wrote the poem below after that conversation in 2016 with my daughter. I share it again today. There is still so far to go.

22 thoughts on “International Women’s Day #FeministRecovery

  1. I’m sorry to hear what sparked the writing of the poem, but you wrote a passionate declaration that speaks for so many’s thoughts and feelings. Any religion that has practices that subjugates one gender and/or that paves the way for abuse and/or exploitation of the vulnerable is not from a beneficent (sp?) source.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Val — I love that it’s 3 generations of women — ok — women and baby. My daughters are such strong, kind and independent women. I feel so incredibly blessed and confident that Ivy is in such
      loving hands for life.

      Like

  2. Amazing. In scrolling through content related to International Women’s Day, this was exactly the type of thing I was hoping to stumble upon. Gritty, honest, beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    Also, if I could shout all of your points on a rooftop, I would. I try…but as you can imagine, we are not always heard. At any rate, to reinforce one of your points, I came across a statistic the other day: 87.2% of women in Egypt have undergone genital mutilation. It’s astounding. And I can’t remember the exact percentage but it was something like 40% of mothers are enforcing this ritual on their daughters. I can only blame a history of false education and a misogynistic society for such brainwashing. It can be hard to even fathom what it would look like to overcome such oppression but fathom we must. Our voices are important and while they are not always heard…they must be used! Thank you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stumbling into this space, for being here, for being a voice, for educating and sharing and continuing to use your voice for positive change Lindsey.
      It is astounding that in a country as ‘advanced’ as Egypt that it continues to be commonplace. Astounding and tragic.
      Just as it is astounding and tragic that women continue to be considered ‘the weaker sex’ or that reproduction rights are denied and a host of other ails.
      And yes, our voices ar important — and even when we think they’re not being heard, when we stand, speak and rise together, they cannot be ignored. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m late to the party (I fear I shall NEVER catch up) but I am glad I chose to come and read this one. First off – you and your daughters cannot deny each other!
    How women came to be last class citizens and had to fight to get where we are today (and still not completely on par) is beyond me. How did we let that happen all those thousands of years ago?
    LOVE your poem… HATE that you had to write it.

    Liked by 1 person

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