Happy International Women’s Day!!!!
Well, it was actually yesterday…. but its okay if we keep celebrating, right? Okay good…
So March 8th, is International Women’s Day for those of you who didn’t know… and up until last year…. I had NO CLUE that a women’s day existed! Some feminist I am, huh? It definitely puts some perspective on our rights and a feminist dialogue in the media in the United States… basically….there is none.
Yesterday morning, I was reading my emails, which consists of updates from news sources and an obsessive amount of food, fashion, and feminist blogs. As I was reading though, I felt the disappointment and sadness rise inside me. None of these blogs had the SLIGHTEST mention of International Women’s day… I mean on a regular basis I can read anything from an amazing purchase from goodwill, to fudge brownies with whipped peanut butter frosting to the candidates that are being considered for the pope-hood!!! Not-a-one mentioned celebrating women and all they have obtained in the last hundred years or even a conversation about what NEEDS to be done…. finally my disappointment was relieved a bit as I read the feminist posts- which of course mentioned the wonderfulness of the day.
It makes me wonder why this is so… why, as an educator, have I never thought about doing women’s programming? Or that there was a day to celebrate women?! Are today’s feminist voices muffled because of the negative associations with the word, feminist? Why is the day not a highly celebrated, intensely publicized day in the US, when this is a day that is celebrated across the entire world?!
Here in Morocco, our wonderful Gender and Development (GAD) committee sends out emails, provides amazing resources and highly encourages every volunteer to participate in International Women’s day. Likewise, the Ministry of Youth and Sports (the ministry that youth development is under) advocates for the day by promoting it to its Dar Chababs and mudirs (youth centers and directors). When I mentioned it to our mudir a couple of weeks ago, he immediately took the reigns and started calling women’s associations all around the city. There were several meetings where it was decided that we would hold a round table and discuss women’s issues in Larache. Some of the associations involved were Space of Women (the association I recently became involved with), the human rights association in Larache and a women’s political association of Larache- it was amazing!!!! The planning was so exciting (even though my understanding in the meetings were pretty low), I could definitely feel the vibe and excitement for this event! About two weeks before though…. my mudir asked me to present about Peace Corps. He wanted me to tell everyone what Peace Corps does in Morocco for women and similarly, what Tyler and I do in Larache. My first impression of what this round table would be like, was an intimate event with the women’s associations literally at a round table, talking about what we can do in Larache for women. The reality of the event, though, was much different. We held the event this past Thursday and at the start of the event, there were about 100 people in attendance. 100 PEOPLE! It hit me that I would be giving my presentation in front of all these people! Fortunately, I had a friend by my side who helped to calm me down throughout the event, I was able to sail through my part with only a few hiccups. It was amazing and empowering to see all of these people willing to listen to a healthy conversation around the rights of women. Little did I know, that one of my students would be taping the event and then posting it on his online newspaper, Larache 24. Yesterday, as I was walking to my women’s class, I was stopped on my street by a man, who told me that he had seen me on Larache 24. I was, obviously, taken aback but mostly glad that the word was getting out about International Women’s Day and its celebration in Larache. It made me more cognizant of the fact that it is not only important, but vital to create awareness- whenever and wherever you can. Not just for International Women’s Day (of course, this is what I would champion) but about anything that is important. Sometimes, it can be difficult to stand up and speak out for beliefs- there are naysayers and even the apathetic people who might stand in the way of celebrating the important things. Despite that, however, it is the creating and planning something from nothing that might catch one person’s attention and the next thing you know….. you are not only speaking to more than 100 people…. but to an indefinite amount of people about how important it is to celebrate women and all that they have done for the world.
Here is the link to Larache 24, the online newspaper that covered the event!!!! Don’t forget to use google translate 🙂
This is one of the videos from the event. At 1:26 when everyone claps, it is after I tell them that one of the resources that Peace Corps provides is a toolkit to help “Stop Sexual Harassment”…. hope you enjoy! 🙂 And don’t forget to celebrate the wonderful women in your life and ALL of their accomplishments!