I wrote this back in 2014 for Women in Wellness Expo and I felt it was worth reprinting in 2021. We still have work to do!
International Women’s Day is a time when we remember those women who were brave enough to take a stand when they saw injustice, spoke out when they knew the truth needed to be spoken and were not afraid to go against traditions, beliefs and their culture in order to make changes. Without their vision and determination we would not have the changes in our labour laws, workplaces, communities and justice system. When these women protested they made a difference for everyone not just the the women. They fought for fair pay, shorter working hours and better working conditions. They did not give up until they too had the right to vote, own property, run businesses and find their place on their own in the world around them. Here in Canada they even changed the law so women would be considered a person! It is our duty to remember how our rights were won and then spread that support to our sisters.
However, despite theses steps forward, mindsets are harder to change. Still today women go through sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse while coworkers and community turn their heads. No one wants to be involved and in doing so make her a victim all over again. Longer and harder to heal are the emotional scars left behind by family and friends who do not listen to her cries for help, turn their back in denial or make light of the effects an abuse can have on her life. WE need to listen, to care and to open our hearts by showing our support and love for these women.
It is a fact that 4 out of 5 women will be sexually abused in their lifetime. Everyone reading this has either experienced this first hand or know someone close to them who has gone through this. Silence is not the answer…encouragement and support is. We are not here tonight to feed into the negative energy that surrounds the struggles and challenges that can face being a woman in a man’s world but rather to recognize the fact that because we are here, today in this place, shows we are survivors, not victims. We choose to be…no we demand that we and all living things be treated with dignity, love and respect thus honouring God within us. By acknowledging that we each have the power within, to forgive, to heal and to find happiness in life simply because we are beautiful beings of light, here for a reason and a purpose we can overcome anything. This belief in ourselves and that Spirit works through us cannot be found in any book or pew because it has to begin in our own soul. Discovering this in ourselves then sharing it with the sisters of the world we cans and will make a difference. The Dalai Lama once stated that the world would be saved by the western woman. What are we waiting for ladies? We have work to do!