International Woman’s Day…

Today is International Woman’s Day.

I wondered about the need for a day to celebrate half of us- seems a wee bit of an over generalisation. Perhaps it might suggest too that all the rest are ‘men’s days’.

But then again perhaps they are right;

  • Women make up half of the world’s population and 70% of the world’s one billion poorest people.
  • Women work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, produce half of the world’s food, but earn only 10% of the world’s income.
  • Of the 500,000 women who die in childbirth every year, 99% live in developing countries. In other words, in developing countries, a girl or a woman dies every minute giving birth.
  • Two thirds of the 800 million adults who lack basic literacy skills are women.

(Figures from Traidcraft. You can donate a few quid towards their work to support women to help themselves here.)

I can change little about the justices and injustices of this wonderful broken world we live in, apart from little bits of money here and there, and perhaps some words.

Because I still hope that poetry might find cracks and widen them.

I read an interview in which the opening lines of this poem were spoken by a mother over her daughter, and they did something to me. I hope that you will forgive this white, middle class man for presuming to use the voice of a woman in this way- as some of the words were hers…

I have a dream for my daughter

That she may live a life

Better than mine

That this plastic bowl I fill with water

Might one day be plumbed-in porcelain

That the cotton dress worn thin by the rocks I wash it on

Might become a pressed skirt and blouse all office white

That these Flip Flops sewn with telephone wire

Might be breathed upon by some God-mother

And become instead

An English bicycle

.

I have a dream for my daughter

That she may not be owned

Or used

Or victimised

She will be strong

Like bright green bamboo

She will speak

And men will listen

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