Women Hold Up Half the Sky

It’s March and the season of International Women’s Month, International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month.

~*~Women Hold Up Half The Sky~*~is a saying as old as culture itself.  Some say it is African…some Japanese…some Chinese.  Regardless of the origin, indeed women hold up half – if not all – the sky.  Women have traditionally been the world’s farmers, child bearers and caretakers of young and old – the backbone of families and societies.  If not for women, agriculture would not exist.  However, despite their contributions to humanity, women continue to suffer from gender discrimination in almost all the world.  Being born female in many places means a lifetime as a second-class citizen, denied most of the opportunities available to males in the areas of health, education, employment and legal rights.  This second-class citizenship hurts the well-being of women themselves and ultimately the whole of society.

Every March the world takes a pause and officially acknowledges and honors women and the contributions they make each and every day.  The entire month is International Women’s Month with a specific and directed focus on International Women’s Day, celebrated every year on March 8th.  In the US, March is also Women’s History Month.

International Women’s Day has been celebrated for over 95 years and is an occasion marked by women’s groups around the world.  This date is also commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday.  When women on all continents, often divided by national boundaries and by ethnic, linguistic, cultural, economic and political differences, come together to celebrate their Day – a day set aside simply to honor and celebrate women –  they can look back to a tradition that represents at least nine decades of struggle for equality, justice, peace and development.

International Women’s Day is the story of ordinary women as makers of history… in truth a herstory typically overlooked in the telling.  It is rooted in the centuries-old struggle of women to participate in society on an equal footing with men.

~In ancient Greece, Lysistrata initiated a sexual strike against men in order to end war.

~During the French Revolution, Parisian women calling for liberty, equality, and fraternity marched on Versailles to demand women’s suffrage.

~Susan B. Anthony was an American suffragist and women’s rights activist who fought for women’s rights, especially the right to vote.  Rosa Parks fought for the right for a dignified existence that was NOT based on race.  Gloria Steinman and Betty Friedan were pioneers in the Women’s Rights Movement of the 60’s and helped pave the way for Women’s Spirituality Trailblazers, Merlin Stone, Carol Christ, Starhawk, Z Budapest, Luisah Teish and others, all of whom helped create an environment that allowed the birth and evolution of a women’s spiritual tradition outside the confines of patriarchal religion.

~Indira Gandhi, Benazir Bhutto and Aung San Suu Kyi were all freedom fighters and political revolutionaries. Today if one searches the internet, 28 countries show women as their leaders.

~Frida Kahlo, Judy Chicago and Georgia O’Keefe dared to push the boundaries of art and life.

~A young girl named Malala redefined courage demanding freedom for girls via education.

~All the women, all over this planet who make contributions in a myriad of other areas – many putting their lives on the line daily – fighting for gender rights, social and economic justice, and planetary sustainability while also ensuring their families are fed and daughters are safe.

International Women’s Month and, more specifically, International Women’s Day, celebrates the collective power of women past, present and future all over the world.  On International Women’s Day, Remember… all the women who have come before… all the women who have influenced you… all the women who inspire you… all the women who guide you… all the women who show girls that they can think outside the box becoming scientists, astronauts,  mathematicians redefining the cosmos or even the next violin virtuoso crossover playing both Vivaldi  and Queen … all the women who have made it possible for you to be the woman you are today.  Then Remember… all the women who fight for a daily existence… who are denied basic human rights and even tortured simply because of gender… who are sold into slavery as part of the sex trade… who are forced into arranged marriages as young as 8… who have NO voice.  Remember and light a candle, say a prayer, for Your Sisters wherever they may be.

I first wrote the above in 2007 for a women’s circle ritual.  Ten years later it is 2017 and the patriarchal backlash against women of the world is at a heretofore unseen level of vengeance.  Everything about the experience of being woman is attempting to be controlled and modulated and, even as we celebrate new and greater achievements, we fight for even the most basic of our rights, especially our rights around our own bodies.

March is International Women’s Month.  March 8 is International Women’s Day.  In the US, March is also Women’s History… no, Her Story… Month.

Is this enough one might ask?  It is not.  It IS a beginning and…

If ever we needed a focused period to openly and vocally celebrate who we are, it is now. 

If ever we needed to join together in welcoming the return of the Powerful, Spiritual, Divine Woman – as both Deity and Deity-incarnate walking our Blessed Mother Earth – it is now.

If ever we needed to stand in circles with other women… with our Sisters… it is now.

If ever we needed a time to shout from the roof tops… we will not go quietly into the proverbial night, but rather rage, rage against the dying of our light*… it is now.

During this focused time of honoring women on this planet, I honor each and every one of you knowing that when even one of us struggles we all struggle and with every victory we all celebrate.

This month – March 2017 – let’s celebrate the power of woman that is a long red thread stretching across the generations connecting us all.  Let’s honor ALL women with our stories and our rituals, our strength and ingenuity, our courage and vigilance.  Let’s make allowance for each others’ differences and celebrate the unique contribution each woman makes.  Let’s teach our daughters they are beautiful, sacred beings and they can be and do anything.  Most of all, let’s honor that She is Rising, She is Returning.

In this season of celebrating Women of the World, a Deep Bow and Blessings to every woman on this planet with Deep, Profound Gratitude to those women walking beside us as Ancestors.

_____________________________
For more information and to learn more about amazing women on this planet, visit
https://www.internationalwomensday.com/

http://www.un.org/en/events/womensday/

http://www.nwhp.org/

*Wording re-imagined from Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night by Dylan Thomas.

 

 

 

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