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On 8th March 2014, International Women’s Day, let us look at some ways to pay it forward for other women we know, as well as all women. Plus, a Pay It Forward blogathon.
While International Women’s Day today has come to mean a whole lot of fun activities and offers for women, the roots of the day actually lie in American women working in factories – who agitated for better pay and working conditions.
To me, one of the best things about having an annual Women’s Day is that it makes you think of women in the collective, not just each of us as individuals. That’s important because there are some challenges common to all of us, even as there are some challenges unique to some of us because of things like our economic condition, or caste, or even where we live.
Thinking about women as a group is a chance not only to acknowledge our common challenges but also to recognize the value of other women in our lives, and women before us whose work has impacted our lives.
Your grandmother who fought with her family to go to school, and paved the way for every girl to get an education. The activists who challenged the judiciary to acknowledge that a woman’s past sexual history did not matter to determine if she had been assaulted or raped. Those who fought to change the laws on women’s right to property. Your mother who told you that you could be anything you want to be. Your best friend who tells you that its alright to cry, and crying is not a ‘feminine weakness’ you need to be ashamed of.
We stand on the shoulders of many women, and International Women’s Day is a time to acknowledge them, and also to pay it forward. To think of the small and big things each one of us can do to make life better for other women.
Pick a cause, and stick to it: Pick a cause that tugs at your heart. Maternal health and mortality. Support for acid attack victims. Girls’ education. There is no dearth of causes in India, but there is a shortage of consistent supporters. Pick your cause, find an organization you can trust and every March 8th, make your donation for the year. Do this year after year after year. If enough of us do this, good people working for change will have others to count on.
Speak up: As often as you can. When you hear everyday sexist banter, when you hear people assuming that a woman has made it at work because of her looks, when you hear someone say that a rape victim deserved it because of her clothes. Speaking up makes a difference, since sexist people no longer have the comfort of knowing that listeners will be silent.
Appreciate a woman: Take the time to explicitly tell a friend, sister, mother, lover, daughter, mentor, colleague – what her presence and support mean to you. Words of gratitude and encouragement make a lot of difference.
I’d like to end with an interesting activity for all of you who blog. Between today and April 8th, (a whole month of paying it forward!) write your own Pay It Forward post.
a) Talk about how you would like to pay it forward for other women, and how you are paying it forward (if you are!)
b) Give a female blogger who has inspired you this badge, and tag her, to tell her you appreciate her writing, and that it has made a difference to you.
Use this code to pick up the badge for your blog (and copy-paste it into the html section of your blog editor):
<a href="http://www.womensweb.in/articles/womens-day-pay-it-forward-blogathon/" target="_blank"><img alt="Pay It Forward" src="http://www.womensweb.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/pay-it-forward-blogathon.png"/>
Leave your post URL here in the comments section, and on April 9th/10th 11th, I will be picking my top 5 posts to receive a Women’s Web t-shirt (premium collared) and cap with our new logo that we have launch today with the brand new website. (Update: That means, I’ll be considering posts submitted by end of day, 10th April)
Thank you all so much for taking time out to honour all the incredible women who’ve made a difference to your lives. It was lovely reading all the posts that came in, and I blushed to read the ones that mentioned me 🙂
Here are my top 5, and I’ll be contacting you soon!
Pooja Sharma Rao: My voice is my feminism
Sangeeta: Two Women
Sandhya: The friend whom I almost didn’t make!
Nivedita: From a girl to a woman
Neelam Dadhwal: Enlightened Journey
Pic of hands credit Care SMC (Used und
er a Creative Commons license)
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