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Thursday, 8 March 2012

International Woman's Day

Today is International Women's Day and being a woman, I am delighted that we are celebrating. To me, it should be about enjoying the fact that we women are great, and doing things that highlight achievements, empowering and helping women to have all the rights they should be having around the world to allow theme to reach their potential.

I therefore was very sad to see that our local International WOmen's Day celebrations were named "overcoming domestic abuse". Now I know that domestic abuse is very real and a huge problem for those that suffer from it, and I think that the women (and men, as men sufer from it to, albeit in smaller numbers) should be offered loads and loads more support to help it stop, and for the women to be able to extricate themselves and start to rebuild their lives. BUT I don't think it should be the main focus for IWD; I don't think it's focusing on the positive aspects of being a woman at all, I think instead, it would only make any person who went to the celebrations feel very sad.

I had a piece accepted for a IWD anthology a few years ago, on the theme of celebrating being a woman. I did a piece on turning forty, and being now a woman and forty-two, I can't remember a thing of what it was about, but I remember thinking it was good and positive and funny. I was looking forward to going to the launch party, but then found out it was in a women's refuge.

I didn't go to the launch because it made me so sad to think that that was thought to be best place to celebrate the achievement of something that was supposed to be positive about being female, whereas having to be in a refuge is probably one of the sadest aspects that some women have to endure. Of course it would have been wonderful to have had a bus collect the women from the refuge and take them to the launch, whilst having some lovely person look after their kids, as a break from the sadness of why they were living at the refuge, but for that to be the "celebratory venue" was too grim.

Trouble is, when you criticise something, you have to put forward your own, better, suggestion.

Therefore, I would like to propose that in future, on International Women's Day, we women celebrate the good things we do, the great situations we find ourselves in - the women who have climbed Everest, stopped wars, swum the Channel, written books (ahem) or cured disease, and maybe then we'll be so inspired and energised, that we can help make a dent in the rest of the problems.





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