Today we mark International Women’s Day; we celebrate all the feats and accomplishments of women throughout the ages and we bring light to those still longing for freedom, justice, dignity and recognition.
Today is the day that we stand together and honour the courage of the trailblazers who have gone before. We thank the ones who marched for our right to vote, for our voice to be heard, for our seat at the table. We honour the ones who made a safe place for us in the workplace, the home, the stage, the streets.
We give gratitude to the life-givers who birthed us from their womb and nurtured us in our arms. For every one of us is born of a woman. And everyone of us has a reason to be thankful.
In the spirit of gratitude, celebration, solidarity and sisterhood, I have gather together the voices of some of my favourite women to hear their thoughts on International Women’s Day 2016, where we have come from and where we are going.
“Sisterhood is not a warm and fuzzy, feel-good idea. Sisterhood is a Spirit-breathed response to the injustice of gender inequality. It’s a movement to set things right. I believe it’s a movement straight from the heart of God. “-Idelette McVicker, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of SheLoves Magazine
“Celebrating other women may be one of the greatest gifts we can give on International Women’s Day. Insecurity and fear of inadequacy can pit me ‘against’ her. It has women facing off as adversaries. Sisterhood says instead that it’s me ‘for’ her. It’s me ‘with’ her. It turns adversaries into advocates and tells our insecurity that it doesn’t get to be the star of the show. Today we get to push aside the stereotype of female competition and show what it looks like to be females championing one another.”- Saskia Wishart, Human Trafficking Activist, The Netherlands
“As women we are born with an innate sense to rescue and respond to the cry of hurting humanity…like a mother hears the cry of her baby, let’s listen in with intention to what God would have us do.” – Helen Burns, Author and International Speaker
“My desire for the mamas and daughters of Lulu Tree- and for all women everywhere- is that we would know, beyond any question or doubt, that we are worthy, valued and loved beyond any worldly standards, by a God who fights for us, sings over us and graciously forgives more than we could imagine.”- Emily Wierenga, Founder of Lulu Tree, Uganda
“It is time that we as a Nation raise our voices against the trafficking and exploitation of women and girls. We need to shout loud and clear against sexually related comments about a women’s body, or accept pornography as entertainment. We need to change the environment of disrespect to women and girls in order to protect our generations to come. Now is the time. We can be silent no longer.” – Joy Smith, Former Member of Parliament & Founder of the Joy Smith Foundation to End Human Trafficking
“The Life-givers will lead the way to healing. We are reclaiming our power. We are standing united across Turtle Island. The sacred gifts we share will bring balance back to the land, the water & ALL life. Either stand with us or get out of our way. 500+ years of oppression is over.” – Audrey Siegl, Advocate for Aboriginal and Environmental Rights
“In a world full of inequalities, let us strive for gender parity by helping women achieve their ambitions and have a say in issues that affect them.” – Yoga Perera, World Vision, Sri Lanka
“Women of today are now encouraged to follow their dreams more than ever – whether that is starting a business, becoming an expert in their field or staying home with their children – and we are empowering and helping one another to achieve those goals! I could not be more proud of how far women have come.”- Jen Biswas, Owner of Paisley and Sparrow
“The uniqueness and individuality of a woman should be acknowledged and embraced. No woman should ever be punished or persecuted for merely being a woman. We are equally capable to earn a fair wage, care for our families, or be empowered to lead and inspire meaningful change. True equality can only be reached when we are all treated with dignity as citizens of this world.” – Michelle Wolfarth, Owner of American Nomad
“I believe that the strongest armour we can give a woman to protect her from exploitation and human trafficking is safe and dignified employment. And a woman is more likely to reinvest her earnings back into her family and children. So when you protect a woman, you protect her community, alleviating poverty and promoting peace.”- Lisa T.D. Nguyen, Founder of Senhoa
What a beautiful, powerful collection of voices! It is an incredible thing when the women of the world come together as change agents for good in their communities. Each voice above is unique yet unified its her call for the same thing: We must stand together.
So today let us lace up our boots, look ahead with fervor, and carry the torch passed to us from the brave women before.
Happy International Women’s Day, friends and sisters. Let us not become weary in doing good for every one of us is of immense value and every one of us is meant to live life to the fullest.