Do you know what today is? Yes, it's Saturday-- but 8 March is an International Holiday that, for some strange reason, the US doesn't celebrate or recognise anymore. I hope that after reading this, however, YOU will. =)
Today is International Women's Day. Yippee!
What does that mean, you ask? Simply put, today is the day set aside to honour women-- not because of some particular role they fill, but for all that we have done, and all that we are, as women. It began as a political event back in 1909, pushing for women's rights, and since then we still have a lot to commemorate and to push for. Women's rights have come a long way in the West, but it's not that way everywhere. We tend to not want to think about how badly off many women are in many cultures (and sometimes even within oppressive traditions in our own), or about how much women have given to bring us to where we are today. I'm not talking just about the Madame Curies or the Susan B. Anthonys, but about the nameless millions of women who have worked and supported their loved ones and countries through wars and tough times, who have fought for better conditions for themselves and others, who have tirelessly and often thanklessly done what needed to be done, whatever that might be and wherever it might be needed. This isn't just a thing of the past; it is still going on today-- in our homes, our churches, our communities, our businesses, our country and our world. Even if the rest of the year our contributions are underpayed, underappreciate and unnoticed, it seems right to me that one day a year we get a chance to be recognised. This shouldn't be 'just another holiday', even if it has degenerated into a Valentines/Mother's Day kind of celebration. I have heard tell that in some countries (like Russia, for instance), women are given flowers and chocolate-- even by complete strangers! Not that I would complain about that, ha!
Perhaps it's because I'm an academic and a theologian, thus putting me squarely in the middle of a male-dominated world and tradition. Perhaps it's because I'm not a wife or a mother, and am strong and independent and single. Perhaps it's because I am a feminist in many ways. But it seems to me, gentlemen, that too often you fellows take girls like me for granted, or worse, don't notice me at all. Obviously you who are reading this, my friends, aren't like that or you wouldn't be MY friend, ha. But what about the other women in your life? Not just your sweeties or your mums (they already have holidays to recognise them for those roles)-- but your teachers, your colleagues, your friends, your sisters, aunts, and cousins? There are lots of women out there doing amazing things, and not always in the spotlight, so to speak. So I want to encourage you today, and over the next couple of days as you read this, to do something to make them feel special. Take a moment and let those ladies know that you appreciate them. And why you appreciate them.
This Public Service Announcement has been brought to you courtesy of True Aim. =)