Friday, March 7, 2008

Happy International Women's Day

250px8marta_2 I had never heard of tomorrow's holiday until we were in Russia, probably their biggest holiday of the year after New Year's Day. Love how it embraces all women, married or single, with or without children.

This year's election process has me thinking more and more about being a woman. In this day, in this place.

I am so grateful for the sisterhood in my life, from my actual sisters and the friends who have become like sisters. From mentors and role models as well as younger women who inspire me. And for the men in my life who have never made me feel anything less than equal, especially my dad and Brian.

It took me months in Russia to finally "get" why our  neighbors kept asking Brian to play chess instead of me, even though Bri would politely decline and point them toward me as the one who enjoyed the game. In our village at least, it was only a man's game.

And it's taken me years to get some perspective on how much the past influences the present, despite changes. My country, for most of its history, denied "my kind" the right to vote, never mind the right to run for office. My church, for most of its history, defined "my kind"  as "incomplete human beings" (at least according to Thomas Aquinas). Today there is still much disagreement on what it means to be a woman.

In some countries, it means your birth is a burden, something to be mourned---or worse---for a family wanting only a son. It can mean no right to own property, or it can mean you are property. There is still so much work to be done, and I hope women (and men---because who wants to be with anyone less than an equal?) in our country feel how lucky we are---there has never been a better place or time to be a woman than now, here.

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