Today is International Women's Day (IWD), a holiday celebrated by people around the world since 1911. When we lived in North Dakota, one of my favorite days on the University of North Dakota campus was the celebration of this holiday. On this day, women and men from the varied cultures represented in our community came together to focus on women's issues and to celebrate the gifts women bring to our shared world.
I headed to the internet today to find out if my new community has such a celebration. I did not find any listed this year. As I cruised around, I found the official International Women's Day site. Over 900 events were listed as celebrations for this day in this year worldwide. My cruising yielded information which piqued my interest:
- Themes for IWD celebrations (http://www.internationalwomensday.com/theme/)
- Facts about women (http://www.internationalwomensday.com/facts.asp)
- Videos IWD and remarkable contributions of women (http://www.internationalwomensday.com/video/video.asp).
I find it quite telling that my culture devotes little attention except for an occasional foot note toward such celebrations. My culture prides itself on a so-called advanced state which should be a model for others. As a rule we have often denigrated the celebration of such things. Some have noted that if we celebrate "women", we should also celebrate "men". That seems to make sense on the surface, but underneath, it overlooks that our culture comes from a patriarchal tradition which elevates ideologies, practices and accomplishments of one gender over another. Even that is not a holistic view of various cultures worldwide. It's about time that our Life Givers are celebrated and honored for the essential gifts that they/we bring to our world and our shared experience.
This little writing celebrates International Women's Day and recognizes the many women in my life and in the world who are making a difference. I decided to list them right here on this blog. That list could and should go on forever. I invite others to add their own names, as notes or just as a momentary meditation. I regret that I have listed so few from cultures other than my own and so few who are of different races. That means I have a whole lot more of my sisters to meet and greet worldwide. So here is my beginning list:
Melanie, Dorothy, Kay Sarah, Sara, Judy, Ilse, Jane, Kathy, Mary, Cathy, Karah, Karleen, Vicki, Joan, Dorreen, Ruthirene, Susan, Maxine, Nicole, Stacia, Ruth, Alva, Lizzie, Soham, Maria, Rachel, Patti, Cec, Theresa, Teresa, Kristi, Trish, Carolyn, Betty, Evelyn, Katherine, Anna, Lottie, Hattie Louella, Andrea, Gretchen, Sandy, Dragica, Ankica, Usha, Diane, Deleta, Felicia, Gayle, Gaylene, Dolly, Twerps, Angela, Alana, Rhonda, Mary, Ali, Allison, Alison, Alyce, Amy, Anne, Ann, Becky, Blanche, Bonnie, Leigh, Karen, Karren, Brenda, Wendy, Cami, Candace, Carol, Cassie, Lois Ann, Scotty, Sheryl, Cheryl, Jan, Jani, Joyce, Christina, Leigh, Cindy, Alline, Connie, Danica, Dar, Nancy, Donna, Elisabeth, Barb, Marcia, Marsha, Iris, Jean, Jeanne, Eva, Ava, LuAnn, Shannon, Jennifer, Jenny, Jess, Jessica, Sunny, Joanne, Joni, Kathleen, Etta, Katie, Kim, Kit, Betsy, Chris, Laura, Linda, Margi, Margeurite, Louise, Marnie, Mary Pat, Vandana, Nikki, Mickey, Norma, Nile, Pat, Petra, Phyllis, Sharlette, lucy, Merry, Sharon, Tamar, Terrie, Ursula, Victoria, Teresa, Carmen, Rosa, Zuleika, Lillian, Thomasine, Seane, Bev, Eilene, Ilene, Meaghann, Monika, Becca, Susann, Robin, Forrest, Tammy, Emma, Lindsey, Darlene, Mary Ann, Shelley, Michelle, Sadie, Leanna, Lynn, Janet, Neva, Ruth, Lora...
These are women of many backgrounds and interests. They were and are doing the best they knew and know how to do. They are on many sides of issues and ideas. We are not always on the same page and we do not have to be. Our differences and our inherent sense of growing toward our fullness make up an essential palette of colors for our world.
Things are changing. We are moving to a better place for all.