Democracy, Editors' Choice, Featured, Gender, Global, Headlines, Human Rights, IPS UN: Inside the Glasshouse, TerraViva United Nations

Opinion

International Women’s Day, 2024
International Women’s Day/International Life Day

The following opinion piece is part of series to mark International Women’s Day, March 8.

NEW YORK, Mar 5 2024 (IPS) - One of the most fascinating aspects of International Women’s Day is an odd subtext. That this is all about and (only) for women. Really? Since when are the realities of one part of humanity – the part that gives birth to the rest by the way – only relevant to that one part?

Would we ever think that if we had an international man’s day (which would be practically every day of the years of our lives) is all about and only for men? No, we would not.

What international women’s day is, is an opportunity to see the world through the eyes of those who have been systematically, systemically and deliberately, marginalized, silenced, scorned – and sometimes violently hated. But it is also an opportunity to celebrate the resilience, the determination, and the remarkable rebirth, survival, and yes, the relief, if not the joy, of thriving.

Look deep into the eyes of the girls and women of DRC, CAR, Ukraine, Russia, Ethiopia, Eretria, Palestine, Israel, Afghanistan, of the Indigenous peoples in North America, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand – and countless other survivors of violence, in every corner of today’s world. Those are the eyes into the spirit of this earth.

International women’s day is but one of the 365 days of a year, to, perhaps, ponder the fact that our very earth is referred to, in many languages, in feminine terms.

Our earth is our very survival. Even, if and when, some of us succeed in living in Mars or on the moon, the majority of us will still need this earth to bear us, as it has borne our ancestors, and as it continues to, in spite of the deliberate destructions we levy against it, from each household, community, nation and region, in every corner of the world.

Our earth sustains nuclear tests which shred its very fibers from deep inside it. Even as it revolts in floods and roars back through erupting volcanoes, our earth still sustains the unending destructions of war, the piling up of human and other life forms, buried in it – and burned on it.

Our earth carries us and nurtures us on its oceans and seas and rivers, many of which we have choked with our human detritus which is killing the very same remarkable ecosystems that keep our waters clean, and help the air to heal.

Our earth tries to keep its own lungs functioning through the trees and oceans which are staying connected to one another, and to life itself, in ways many of us have no idea about. Every grain of sand, dew drop, branch, leaf, cloud – all feminine.

Come to think of it, our earth is being treated by humans, as so many girls and women are still being treated: taken advantage of, beaten, (ab)used, considered replaceable or profitable (or both), and when they excel, they are resented, including by some of their own kind.

We dare not speak of the woman-on-woman violence, right? That is not done, not even by the most stalwart of our feminist leaders. All the while this is happening though, poetry, prizes, even laws, are being enacted to ‘save’, commemorate, and ‘honour’ earth.

All faith traditions actually have a secret embedded within them: that that which is feminine, always rises again, to love, as it serves and gives birth, and to fight for the very possibility of life itself. As we commemorate this day, we would do well to remember that it is not about girls and women per se, it is about the power of the feminine that is earth itself.

None of us is born to be alone forever. We need one another. In fact, we are completely dependent on one another.

Our earth demands justice for life itself to be sustained. International women’s day is every human’s day, every life on this planet day, every living thing day, every star in the cosmos of creation day.

Can we honour that?

Azza Karam is a member of the UN SG’s High Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism, and is the founding President & CEO of Lead Integrity, an International Management Consulting business, focused on creating a Roster, and making available, the expertise of women inspired by diverse faiths and serving in all professions, committed to leadership, integrity and competence.

IPS UN Bureau

 


  
 
Republish | | Print |


one last shot julia connors pdf