Patricia Daniel (who wrote our World Social Forum blog)
It’s appropriate that the UN have chosen zero tolerance for violence against women as their message for International Women’s Day.
Women in South Africa have gone one better, they have extended their campaign to 365 days – since clearly women’s rights have to got to be top of the agenda for the rest of the year.
All across Africa, women are taking the opportunity to highlight inequity. In Kenya Graca Michel and Mary Robinson emphasise the need to harness technology to support women’s empowerment.
In francophone north and west Africa, a range of issues are being profiled. Women in Mali, despite all the social problems reflected in the film Bamako, have chosen to focus on ‘women’s political emergence as a driving force for change’.
But in neighbouring Burkina, some killjoy of a male journalist has criticized the fact that women are partying and wearing new dresses (made from locally produced cloth printed over with ‘International Women’s Day’ in the time-honoured African tradition for important occasions, like electing male presidents) – instead of paying attention to more pressing economic needs.
While not forgetting the ongoing struggle for gender equality and social justice (how could we?) I feel it’s also appropriate, given our one special internationally endorsed day of the year, to celebrate the fact that women comprise 50% of the world’s population; we hold up (at least) half the sky; across class, culture and continents, we can find common ground and support each other; we are all beautiful, courageous and resourceful in our different ways; and, despite every effort to undermine us, we are still hanging in there with a chance to shape humanity.
Party on, sisters.