Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day are times to reflect upon the continuing struggle of how far women have come in our need for equality, peace and development. We need to unite, network and mobilize for meaningful change all year round.
I wish more women would support each other locally and globally. I wonder now where are the women’s voices, the leaders, the mothers and aunts, the lionesses. Did you know black women are more likely than other racial/gender groups to go unnoticed or unheard? And it seems as if we have just faded into the background. African American girls and young women have become the fastest growing population of incarcerated young people in the US. However the number of black girls who are actually committing crimes is not rising. I felt like the young black men needed us most and I have even forgotten about the young woman. It seems I’m not the only one because there doesn’t seem to be any major efforts to stop the mass incarceration of black girls either. The cause for this epidemic has been attributed to national zero tolerance policies and a justice system that treats girls of color differently than white girls. The Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice at the University of California, Berkeley’s Law School saw the void in support and organized a day-and-a-half free event, “African American Girls and Young Women and Juvenile Justice System: A Call to Action.” All it takes is someone to see an injustice and to stand and speak up. What are you standing up for? Beyond work and school, family and friends what are you lending your time to that will advance the community around you? In the absence of many there are still great works that are being done.
There was a recent study done by The Economist- 150-page report on women’s economic opportunity around the world. They addressed the factors most affecting women’s ability to access business opportunities. As well as which countries best empowered women by advancing both policy and programs to produce a better economy.
- It showed that Western European countries had the most economic advancement opportunities for woman and Chad, Yemen and Sudan scored the least.
- The US has no mandatory maternity leave rights for woman and they do not like to sign international treaties including ones that protect women’s rights.
- The best educated women are in Europe then America.
- Most countries have equal pay for equal work laws but do nothing to enforce them.
Women are underrepresented in government throughout the world. Although in Rwanda women make up over half of Parliament which is rare. Sojourner Truth said it best “If women want any rights more than they’s got, why don’t they just take them, and not be talking about it.” So despite the results in this study there have been vast efforts across the world to promote investing in women. Investing in women would drive up economic expansion in developing countries because they run the majority of small businesses and farms. If women are in control of the family’s finances more of the income will go towards food, education, medicine and other family needs. It is a fact that the investing and empowering women will contribute to the strengthening of international peace and security.
If the world can rally and organize for women globally what are we doing to support our young women here in America? We have become a society that blames an 11year old girl for being gang raped by 18 men. Instead of coming to her rescue she has been persecuted by the media and women in her own community. Woman rather say how they dont like other women and rather befriend men. People have become too self-centered to even help anyone else. Because of my black feminist beliefs I am driven to always think deeply about the human condition and global realities, especially as they affect people of color, women and children. I believe that it takes a village to raise a child. You are a part of a village, a community. It needs your voice to support and speak up for the young women at home and abroad. It is imperative that we envision a world in which we are all free from the ravages of oppression, poverty, war and inequity. That world requires the active participation of men and women. So I ask where is your voice in the community for the social progress and human rights of our women?
Click on links of a few organizations supporting women:
- ONE– grassroots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable disease…check out videos!
- Forward – campaigns to tackle gender based violence and in particular female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage.
- African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) – supports local, national and regional organizations in Africa working towards women’s empowerment.
- Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) – convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
- Women Deliver 100– List of 100 most inspiring people who deliver for girls and women
- Global Fund– support the efforts of women’s organizations that are working to advance women’s leadership and decisionmaking at all levels of society.
- National Council of Negro Women– lead, develop and advocate for women of African descent as they support their families and communities.
- WILPF and Voices of African Women – is the oldest women’s peace organisation, campaigns for peace, justice, equality and the full enjoyment of human rights for all.