Thank You, Ladies
Early this morning, before the hustle and bustle of the day began, I received a quietly short but hugely powerful message from one of my dear friends. It said, quite simply, “Happy International Women’s Day”. Yes, I thought. It is International Women’s Day! In an excited frenzy, I proceeded to frantically search online for images and quotes to share with my friends near and far, hoping to find something that would accurately reflect the role that women play in keeping this world spinning. Instead, I found the status quo; a boring barrage of images and words that scooped up every predictable stereotype that has ever existed. I saw flowers. I saw babies. I saw high heels and lipstick. I saw Barbie-ish figures. I saw quotes demeaning men. I saw pink. I saw lots of pink. At this juncture in the story of how women are seen and treated in the world, when movements like Me Too and Times Up have forced us to think about authentic equality, we must not allow ourselves to be defined by stereotypes that misrepresent women and their contributions. All around the world today, women are singing and shouting and protesting and asserting their equality. Some are wearing pink. Some are wearing blue. Some are wearing lipstick. Others are choosing not to. Some are wearing flowers in their hair. Others are sporting hard hats. Some have children. Others have chosen not to.
In Islamabad, female police officers are marching. Similarly, in Kathmandu, women in male dominated professions are celebrating their strength. Closer to home in Happy Valley Goose Bay, people are sharing their heart wrenching stories as the the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls hears from families and survivors of violence. All around the planet, women and men are celebrating and talking and asking how can we ensure that respect and equality prevail.
How are we doing in our tiny corner of the world? You need only watch the video of Nanny and Mrs Lena Nash being interviewed about their staunch efforts to secure employment in the community to know that women’s voices matter. They stand with such conviction and knowledge as they share their stories. Thirty years later, Branch is being led by five strong, imaginative, intelligent women.
As I watched the images of women celebrating today one in particular stood out. In Barcelona women chanted “If we stop the world stops”. In Branch, in Barcelona, in every community, I think that says it all.