This International Women’s Day, I’m inspired by the girls and women around the world who are fighting for their human rights. Women are protesting oppressive laws in Iran, pressing to end trafficking in India, speaking out against female genital mutilation in the Gambia, and resisting gangs in El Salvador. Despite the risk to their lives, women are demanding freedom, safety, equality, and recognition of their whole humanity.
Waking up each day, putting one foot in front of the other, breathing in and breathing out – these can be acts of surprising, awe-inspiring resilience, courage, and strength. Because someone out there tried to control them, take away their light, and force them to submit, and may have gotten away with it, millions of women suffer tremendously every single day.
One of my former clients calls me now and then just to tell me she’s still alive. Her father abused her, then after he died, her uncle raped and trafficked her. She finally ran away, but when she got to the U.S., she was jailed and mistreated by our immigration system. I am inspired by her resilience, her ability to stay invested in her own future despite the incredible injustices she’s endured by both people and systems. But I’m also furious that she has had to develop that resilience just to survive and ashamed that this country was a part of her traumatization.
Women’s oppression here and abroad continues to be rooted in patriarchy and upheld by interpersonal and state violence. Those same root causes lead to the egregious mistreatment and marginalization of LGBTQIA+ and non-conforming people. The lack of equality and justice for all of us holds back our society from progress and limits our collective potential.
But I believe that change is possible. This International Women’s Day, I recommit to this fight alongside my clients still fighting for their right to breathe as well as to the activists seeking gender equality here and around the world.
Will you join me in honoring a woman who inspires you? You can submit their name and story at this link so they can be featured on our website alongside other courageous and resilient women: https://act.tahirih.org/a/womenwhoinspire