2022 International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

March 8th marks the International Women’s Day (IWD). Growing up, this was a day of celebration of the woman’s place in society, talks and conferences took place, school-age students wrote poems or offered flowers to their female teachers, in some cases parades took place, and much more. For IWD, President Thomas Sankara of Burkina Faso made it a day when the men participated in house chores, some would do the groceries for the day, thus getting more acquainted with the family needs, or take over some other chores; this made it so that the men where now aware of the demands and lives of their partners. More recently, the talk has been big on equal pay… yet when attending lectures where women talk about equal pay, few men are present… if real change is to take place, everybody needs to be a part of the conversation. There are probably a lot of men who would appreciate the extra income that their wives being paid equally would bring to the family, perhaps adding money to the children’s school fees, family travels, house repairs, medical bills, retirement funds, to name just a few. This needs to be a common goal. We cannot let the powers that be keep us divided over an issue such as equal pay, where women who work just as hard as men, and the same hours are paid less for the same job… Isn’t that absurd? IWD is not just another day on the calendar, but it is a day for everybody to acknowledge women, recognize their place as equal, and celebrate their contributions to society.

Equal Pay and the 2018 International Women’s Day

International Women day 2018_3
Women marching in Spain for the International Women’s Day 2018 (Source: BBC)

Growing up, 8 March also known as International Women’s Day, was always a day of marches. Women will go on marches or parades wearing uniforms, celebrating women. But I never felt like there was a real follow-up to that day. It felt like just another day, or rather a day invented to act as if for once women’s issues were important. I don’t remember much, but it was always a colorful, happy day, with women parading, singing, even sometimes allowed a day off from work or house chores. I don’t remember men doing much except helping women celebrate that day with flows of alcohol in the evenings in bars, or some quick news flash about it, etc. So I was quite surprised and happy to see what the Spanish women did on 8 March this year: protesting and stopping work for the entire day throughout the entire country of Spain, protesting for equal payInternational Women’s Day: ‘Millions’ join Spain strikeMore than 5m join Spain’s ‘feminist strike’, unions saySpain grinds to a halt as millions of women join unprecedented strike. To me, it was beautiful! The entire country was crippled, with public transportation being affected, and even air flights delayed. In South Korea, I saw a picture of men marching alongside women demanding equal pay, and I was moved.

equal pay1The question of equal pay is a global or rather a human question. It does not just affect women, but men as well, and the entire society. Imagine a working couple with a family; imagine what that equal pay to the woman in that couple would do to that couple’s entire income? If women are paid 20% less than men, imagine what 20% more will do to the bills in a family, to the college funds for the kids, to the healthcare, and even to those long overdue family vacations? Now think about single household which are mostly held by women… 20% more is like a lifeline! It is everything! So we should all, men and women, fight for equal pay, instead of acting as if it was a female ‘thing’, because equal pay is a basic human need, and not doing it is an infringement on everybody’s rights out there! My salute to all those Spanish women, this is what International Women’s Day should be all about!

Happy International Woman’s Day!

March8th_2For today, in celebration of millions, and billions of women out there, I choose to re-post this poem which always stood on the door to my Mother’s office for many years. This poem, “WOMAN” is from Gold Touch International, and was originally posted on March 8th, 2012 on Afrolegends. Enjoy, and yes salute all the strong women in your lives.

WOMAN

Be tough, woman.

Be brave

Go out fearlessly and do the things

That your heart desires to do.

You will be counted in the world.

Don’t allow fear to paralyze you.

Stand up and face the challenges of life,

Squarely in the face, however great

They may be.

Forge ahead and conquer.

March on to the victory that awaits you.

No one will toss victory onto you.

You have to win it yourself.

Carve out a place for yourself in the sun, woman.

Let not fear destroy that great dream of yours.

Don’t fear to be laughed at;

Don’t fear to be criticized;

Don’t fear to fail;

Don’t fear to be thought crazy when you dare

To do the things that others fear to do.

Be tough and march on.

You will conquer, woman.

You have what it takes to

To win all the victories

That your heart desires to win.

Be tough and win.

This is a message from Gold Touch International.

“The Black Woman” by Marcus Garvey

Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey

International Women's Day
International Women’s Day

8 March celebrates the International Women’s Day.  I thought of sharing with you, this poem by the great panafricanist Marcus Garvey published on February 28, 1927. To Garvey, the African Woman is the Mother of all Women, the Mother of Beauty, the Mother of Health, the Mother of Wisdom.  All can refer to her as “Mother.”  And she is the African Man’s Wife.  Enjoy!!!

===========

The Black Woman
By Marcus Garvey

Black queen of beauty, thou hast given color to the world!
Among other women thou art royal and the fairest!
Like the brightest of jewels in the regal diadem,
Shin’st thou, Goddess of Africa, Nature’s purest emblem!

Black men worship at thy virginal shrine of truest love,
Because in thine eyes are virtue’s steady and holy mark,
As we see in no other, clothed in silk or fine linen,
From ancient Venus, the Goddess, to mythical Helen.

When Africa stood at the head of the elder nations,
The Gods used to travel from foreign lands to look at thee
On couch of costly Eastern materials, all perfumed,
Reclined thee, as in thy path flow’rs were strewn-sweetest that bloomed.

Thy transcendent marvelous beauty made the whole world mad,
Bringing Solomon to tears as he viewed thy comeliness;
Anthony and the elder Ceasars wept at thy royal feet,
Preferring death than to leave thy presence, their foes to meet.

You, in all ages, have attracted the adoring world,
And caused many a bloody banner to be unfurled
You have sat upon exalted and lofty eminence,
To see a world fight in your ancient African defense.

Today you have been dethroned, through the weakness of your men,
While, in frenzy, those who of yore craved your smiles and your hand-
Those who were all monsters and could not with love approach you-
Have insulted your pride and now attack your good virtue.

Because of disunion you became mother of the world,
Giving tinge of robust color to five continents,
Making a greater world of millions of colored races,
Whose claim to beauty is reflected through our black faces.

From the handsome Indian to European brunette,
There is a claim for that credit of their sunny beauty
That no one can e’er to take from thee, 0 Queen of all women
Who have borne trials and troubles and racial burden.

Once more we shall, in Africa, fight and conquer for you,
Restoring the pearly crown that proud Queen Sheba did wear
Yea, it may mean blood, it may mean death; but still we shall fight,
Bearing our banners to Vict’ry, men of Africa’s might.

Superior Angels look like you in Heaven above,
For thou art fairest, queen of the seasons, queen of our love
No condition shall make us ever in life desert thee,
Sweet Goddess of the ever green land and placid blue sea.

March 8th: International Woman’s Day

African Venus, a sculpture by Charles-Henri Joseph Cordier 1851 (Source: Walters Art Museum)
African Venus, a sculpture by Charles-Henri Joseph Cordier 1851 (Source: Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, MD)

In honor of our mothers, sisters, daughters, and wives, and to celebrate this great day, I thought about this great poem I once read. I dedicate it to the women of Côte d’Ivoire and Libya … of all of Africa, and to all women out there who are making a change, however small it may be. This poem is entitled “WOMAN” by Gold Touch International. Enjoy!

WOMAN

 

Be tough, woman.

Be brave

Go out fearlessly and do the things

That your heart desires to do.

You will be counted in the world.

Don’t allow fear to paralyze you.

Stand up and face the challenges of life,

Squarely in the face, however great

They may be.

Forge ahead and conquer.

March on to the victory that awaits you.

No one will toss victory onto you.

You have to win it yourself.

Carve out a place for yourself in the sun, woman.

Let not fear destroy that great dream of yours.

Don’t fear to be laughed at;

Don’t fear to be criticized;

Don’t fear to fail;

Don’t fear to be thought crazy when you dare

To do the things that others fear to do.

Be tough and march on.

You will conquer, woman.

You have what it takes to

To win all the victories

That your heart desires to win.

Be tough and win.

This is a message from Gold Touch International.