As I’m writing this, I’m listening to the BBC 6 Music Women6Music show for International Women’s Day. I’ve been meeting with a woman from a local heritage centre to discuss a photo exhibition that will feature photographs of a Guide unit I work with as part of their Free Being Me project.
We all know the rhyme…what are little girls made of? ‘Sugar and spice and all that’s nice’. And what are little boys made of? ‘Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails’.
What a heap of CRAP.
I look at the history of women, and I see stories that need to be told. I see women like Elizabeth Pease and Eliza Wigham who fought for the emanicipation of slaves (and put their money where their mouth was…helping to fund the underground railroad in the USA.) yet there were men that didn’t think they had the intelligence to participate in the first world convention for the abolition of slavery because they had no Y chromosome. I see Elsie Inglis – the woman who was told by a General not to bother heading to the frontline to set up her hospital. She did it anyway, with women alongside her. She’s honoured and remembered by the Serbians. She doesn’t have so much as a statue in her home city of Edinburgh. I see Bethany Hamilton, the once 13 year old girl who had her arm bitten off by a shark while surfing waves on the North Shore of Kauai. Three weeks later she was back in the water with a bandage covering the stump at her shoulder….now she’s a professional surfer and mother to be. I see Maya Angelou, who fought through many battles, abuse and hardship. She has left this earth yet still inspires people with her words of wisdom through her writing. I see Marie Curie, a woman who essentially died for the cause experimenting with radiation and finding treatments for cancer. I see Malala Yousafzai, a teenager girl whose bravery and courage inspired the world – and still does as she fights for women’s rights to receive the opportunity to educate themselves.
I know women who are athletes. Women who are engineers. Women who are scientists. Women who are experts in computer sciences and artificial intelligence. Women who are political activists. Women who are accountants. Women who are educators. Women who are nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, doctors, surgeons, speech therapists. Women who have battled illness and disease. Women who have overcome adversity. Women who have cared for their families and communities. Women who are musicians. Women who are playwrights. Women who are artists. Women who are TV producers. Women who are comedians.
The world needs both sexes, and needs to see that we are all different but equally needed to make the world the best place it can be.
And women are not an attachment for a man, a trophy to be held, or for aesthetic pleasure to smile and look pretty.
Whether we wear make up or not, shave/wax or not, wear dresses or joggers, head coverings or hair extensions, heels or hiking boots…we are filled with courage, determination, talent, intelligence, creativity, work ethic and an ability to learn.
A belated Happy International Women’s Day to all of my sisters around the world.
You have the ingredients to make the world a better place. Please never be afraid to share them.
Remember what you are really made of.