International Women’s Day is today and I couldn’t be happier about the conversations going on in our world about women right now. It seemed to me that last year was kind of bunk in terms of how women were still treated and it got supremely weary for me by December of 2012. Looking back at the year I was haunted by the plethora of hate, violence, and disdain that women in the world were subjected to and it made me want to do something about it. On my own blog, Mocha Momma, I started writing manifestos that solidified, for me, why being a girl champion is important. The narrative of women’s history has been re-written and anthologized by men in a way that denies women the rights to their own stories. Part of the manifestos I was writing (and still am) highlight my own stories and the power that comes with telling my own story. That’s why IWD feels different for me this year and I’d like to highlight some of the things that we, collectively in celebrating equality for women, can do.
International Women’s Day brings to mind a the causes and campaigns and grassroots efforts I’ve paid far more attention to lately when it comes to supporting women and girls. Why a day for women? you might ask. Well, the answer to that is plentiful and the easiest way I respond to friends about why I’m supporting these efforts is because the civil rights issue the world over is in our response to how women and girls are treated. As a young girl, I didn’t realize there were forces at work that would one day make it impossible for me to be paid equally to a man. Nor did I understand the educational needs in the world that affect women in childbirth situations. For me, it comes down to this: as a human being what am I doing to make progress for women? The answer lies in the following places you can visit, support, and, ultimately, campaign for as you celebrate IWD.
Originally, IWD began as efforts from female garment workers who were protesting for their rights (prior to unionization) in regards to working conditions and wages. The origins can be traced to a woman named Clara Zetkin who was active in politics and was an advocate for women’s rights. This was a woman who died in 1933 so the long-standing struggle for what she worked for isn’t lost on me as a modern woman in 2013. This is a fight that continues and it is that reason that I realize that lending my own voice to the struggle is crucial for me.
Here are some of the organizations that are making a difference for women today and every day. I hope you’ll click on a few and learn more about what is being done to support and celebrate women.
Women are everywhere and most of the struggles that we face here in the U.S. are vastly different from out sisters around the world. IWD aims to celebrate the achievements of all women. 1 of 7
Celebrating women and causes important to them is crucial today and every day. Recently, on PBS, they launched the documentary called Makers which is about women in the first 50 years of the movement. Today, stuggles continue, but paying attention to the contributions of women is just as important. 2 of 7
“Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide” is a book, a documentary, and a movement set forth by writers Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristoff. Their mission is to raise awareness as well as provide the tools to fight female oppression and be a part of the solution. 3 of 7
Women for Women International is an organization that allows people to sponsor women in war-torn areas in order to help rebuild their lives. They offer job training, give rights education seminars, and help with small business assistance. 4 of 7
Reshma Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code, an organization whose aim is to educate and inspire young girls between the ages of 13 and 17. They provide them with the skills and opportunities that will allow them to break into the fields of technology and engineering. 5 of 7
Girls Rising, a new film released yesterday, spotlights the strength and human spirit that goes into educating a young girl. It’s a social action campaign that highlights the lives of 9 girls. 6 of 7
Christy Turlington founded Every Mother Counts as a campaign to end preventable deaths due to pregnancy for women worldwide. Their mission is to improve health education and conditions. 7 of 7
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