International Women's Day - March 8th is the 103 anniversary of its inception and I am ashamed to say I never paid it much attention until my son married Oksana. She is a native of L'viv, Ukraine and the importance she gave to International Women's Day opened my eyes. Last year the Un Commission on the Status of Women made the elimination and prevention of violence to women its focus. I live a privileged life where I am, for the most part safe. It is not so for many women. In Canada, aboriginal women are at high risk for rape, beatings and murder. Higher than the rest of the population and much less likely to receive help from authorities. Often the violence is unreported because native women mistrust (with good reason) authority. In the rest of the world, the news is no better. A young woman's death after a brutal rape by five men in India focused that country's attention on its abysmal treatment of women. In war-torn countries violent rape and murder of women is part of the prize going to the victors. Women in other countries face risks just trying to attend school. They are bound into arranged marriages when still girls. Genital mutilation is the norm in many places. Yet women find the courage to speak out and many pay a steep price. In luckier parts of the world (for some citizens), women have the opportunity to take leadership roles and take their place in the power structures of corporate boards and government. International Women's Day is a time to reflect and fight for justice, equality and peace for women and for everyone. Studies show that empowering women betters their entire community. Take a minute to do some small thing to help women. This is my very small contribution.
I've been writing on and off for years and this is where my more serious pieces will be.