Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. Since its inception in the socialist movement in the early 1900s, this observation has blossomed into a day to recognize and celebrate women across the globe. I’ve always loved the expression “Women Hold Up Half the Sky.” Isn’t that image beautiful and evocative? Expansive and powerful?
This year of course there is a call to action on this day – “A Day Without Women” here in the U.S. in conjunction with an International Women’s Strike. Women are urged to take the day off work if they can, or show support in other ways if they can’t.
I’m not sure how successful the strike will be – wildly I hope, but I suspect less so. I come from a background of strong labor and union identification, and I totally support and understand the effectiveness of strikes. But despite the extraordinary showing of solidarity and intention of January’s Women’s March, I have a sense that with so many issues to focus on, this is an unprecedented situation and we’re all pretty much feeling our way through in more of a chaotic than organized manner. And yet, sometimes even when we don’t know precisely what to do – perhaps even especially then – we must speak our truth and we must stand up for what we believe.
I also think International Women’s Day is a time to take stock of how far we still have to go. Here are some sobering facts: women account for nearly two-thirds of minimum-wage workers in the US, and women of color account for more than half of those earning minimum wage or less. Looking globally, the World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2186. Add in the issues of violence against women; trafficking; inadequate access to health care; and so so much more and you can see how much needs to change.
These are important issues affecting women, but we also have other equally important and urgent issues to address as well – the refugee crisis and immigration issues; racism; sexism; and all manner of separation consciousness; violence; poverty; dark money; and endless service-to-self paradigms, just to name some. Sigh.
Seriously, we’re navigating uncharted territory here. Of course the problems have always existed – it’s just that collective consciousness awareness of the extent and depth of them is on the rise. But the truth of this is the opportunity – in-our-face stuff that needs our attention, needs our action, needs our solutions. And the truth of it is that nobody knows how to do this – we’ve simply have to show up and do the best we can.
During the Vancouver Peace Summit of 2009 the Dalai Lama proclaimed that “the world will be saved by the western woman.” We certainly have our work cut out for us.
More than ever before we have the opportunity (and in my opinion, the obligation) to ground the Divine Feminine here on this beautiful planet of ours during this time of great challenge. We are present in the time of awakening consciousness and there is much to do.
As Marion Woodman admonishes:
“The great work of our time is to bring the feminine into this culture. And it’s not an easy path. How does each one of us contribute? Believe it or not, it’s done in the most personal ways. Take time to listen to your dreams, to write them down. Take time to recognize that there are things going on within you that need to be felt, or said, or lived, or grieved. Pay attention to these things both in yourself and in the people in your life. Pay attention to the authentic self.”
Whatever you do (or don’t do) on International Women’s Day, I encourage you to join me in celebrating all the beautiful women in our lives – all those who bless us with their presence and their shine and their fabulousity; their tenderness and their fierceness; their genius, their strength; their very beingness.
But don’t stop there. Turn your mind, your heart, and your gratitude to all those women you don’t know – all the women out there standing with us helping hold up half the sky. Let’s celebrate them all.
By the way, the button in my photograph is from Pincause. A portion of all sales proceeds is donated to Planned Parenthood and ACLU, and you get to wear your love on your sleeve, or wherever you’d like. Win-win in my opinion.