Happy Women’s Day Ladies… and gentlemen (yes, this post is for the men too). I did not realize it was Women’s Day until this morning when a few of the older girls here at Child Haven International – Hyderabad, rushed up to me and proudly proclaimed it so.
International Women’s Day has been around since 1909 when the Socialist Party of America declared February 28th – the day of the woman. It has been celebrated ever since and now falls on March 8th. The United Nations chooses a theme every year and this years theme is, “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”.
It is an extremely appropriate theme for this year, especially here in India given the horrifying case of gang rape and murder of a young woman in the capital city of New Delhi in December. Unfortunately, this was not a singular incident. I dread reading the newspaper these days because there is always, without fail, an article or two or three about a girl being raped or murdered, or a new bride being burned or scalded with acid. There are articles of molestation and eve teasing. The list goes on and on and so does the violence. The statistics are appalling and women are demanding change.
“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” – Alice Walker
A few weeks ago I put together a small presentation on self defense for the older girls here at the Child Haven home. One evening we all gathered in their room and with the help of some staff and college students, I was eventually able to get my message across loud and clear. There were a lot of giggles and a few gasps as I doled out my hastily produced presentation. I don’t think most of them had ever talked about being in dangerous situations or what to do if they ever were.
The world can be a pretty scary place for a girl. It is wrought with danger, inequality, abuse, and injustice. I wanted to empower these girls, to teach them how strong and courageous they could be. Girl Power was my theme and as I scoured the internet for images of female super heroes, I quickly realized how scantily clad these women were. Wonder Woman, SheRa, the Cat Lady – I couldn’t show that to these girls, that is way too much skin for these modest maidens. So what could I do? I was forced to use the Powerpuff Girls, cartoons without cleavage – just the ticket.
“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” – Roseanne Barr
Let us make this Women’s day a celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards all women – and for pete’s sake let’s STOP THE VIOLENCE.
Thanks for reading!