Monday, 8 March 2010

International Women's Day

Last year, on International Women's Day, I wrote in support of the work of activists addressing Haiti's high incidence of rape. Today, the survival and well-being of women in Haiti remains high on the agenda of activists in the region and allies all over the world, especially in the aftermath of the earthquake. The women I've spoken to there are more focused than ever on rebuilding their country and their lives, and on continuing to work on securing safe, dignified, productive lives and livelihoods for all people. They inspire me not only to join them where they are, but to intensify my own work in Barbados and the Caribbean.

I see a lot of young women in my neighbourhood, on the streets every day, out and about everywhere, engaged in the business of growing up and figuring life out. And every day I'm reminded of how much there is to navigate, as a girl, and how overwhelming it can become if no one is creating the space needed to get through it all. That involves listening and encouraging their creative efforts and all these great things. But it also involves more tangible support, that has to do with their health care, their sexual and reproductive rights, their education, their safety and economic security. I don't have children. And even though I may at some point, and though I love my friends' children, I need not look that far into the future for my motivation to make things better now. I'm looking all around me, out my window right this minute, at the girls and women who depend on all our support to make their lives better today.

Happy International Women's Day.

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