Happy International Women’s Day, everyone.
I planted some sunflowers at Christmastime and I’m delighted that the first of them is blooming! So exciting. If I remember, I’ll take a picture to put up with next week’s links. In the meantime, I’m celebrating Women’s Day with tea and cake. Oh, wait, that’s how I celebrate every Sunday. Well, why break with tradition, right?
While I think I am truly fortunate to live where I live, with all the benefits I gain from my skin colour, education, and native language, it still… baffles me? confounds me? that in 2015, women around the world (and let’s face it, here as well) can experience discrimination based on their gender. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon states that: “To be truly transformative, the post-2015 development agenda must prioritise gender equality and women’s empowerment. The world will never realise 100 per cent of its goals if 50 per cent of its people cannot realise their full potential.”
This is such a self-evident truth. How is it not happening yet? (And perhaps less important: why has the font inexplicably changed halfway through this paragraph?)
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I’ve always loved the Indian festival of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours. It seems like such a fun thing to do! However, I didn’t realise until reading this article that widows have traditionally been excluded from joining in. Thanks to a charity, Holi has just been celebrated in Vrindavan, the ‘City of Widows’, where widows go to live as they’re often shunned by society. The colours in these pictures are wonderful, as are the expressions of the women. But what a shame that the identity and worth of these women is so wrapped up in terms of whether they are married or widowed. Sulabh International, the charity working with the widows, is trying to challenge tradition and help women who have lost their husbands to reintegrate into society. I very much hope they’re successful.
Edit: Apparently the pictures don’t show on the ABC article, so here’s another which has some more.
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A long term study of killer whales shows that the older females in the pods have an important role to play in the survival of the family group, offering experience and knowledge when conditions become challenging. I didn’t realise that there are so few species where menopausal females can expect to live long after they have their last babies. While I’ve a while to go to get to ‘crone-status’, it’s genuinely interesting and inspiring to see how life experience in other species can be valued. Now if only humans could wake up to the importance of preserving knowledge through our older generations…
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What a great idea, to encourage both men and women to think about the way in which burqas can be a means of restricting women – but this article also does a great job of highlighting the other opinions about burqas. Far from being a simple issue, it evokes different responses from different people, and it’s not just split down the line between men and women, either.
I particularly like the quote from 24-year-old policeman Javad Haidari in this story: “What’s the point of this? All the women in my family wear burqas. I wouldn’t let them go out without one.”
You know, Javad Haidari, I think that is precisely the point.