Thursday, March 08, 2007

Solidarity With All the World's Women

As a fairly privileged woman living in Canada, I think today (March 8th, International Women's Day) I'd like to express my solidarity for all the world's women. There's such a vast range of different experiences; many women are fighting battles I've been fortunate enough not to have to fight. Despite our differences, we still have our shared womanhood in common.

North America
Here in North America, we are defending against the loss of the liberties we fought so hard for. "Feminist" has been rebranded as a dirty word. The right of a woman to choose when and if to have children is constantly under attack. Violence against women, and women's poverty are still urgent issues. In Canada, essential women's programs are being cut. Our aboriginal women face special risks.

The current state of women in Iraq is covered in a recent report by MADRE: Promising Democracy, Imposing Theocracy: Gender-Based Violence and the US War on Iraq. (Listen/watch more at Democracy Now):
A groundbreaking report on the incidence, causes, and legalization of gender-based violence in Iraq since the US-led invasion. Amidst the chaos and violence of US-occupied Iraq, women — in particular those who are perceived to pose a challenge to the political project of their attackers — have increasingly been targeted because they are women. Today, they are subjected to unprecedented levels of assault in the public sphere, "honor killings," torture in detention, and other forms of gender-based violence.

Because my country is one of the current occupiers, Afghanistan has particular importance to me. The women of Afghanistan are in a grave situation, with some of the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world, on top of decades of war and extreme oppression. The courageous feminists at RAWA (Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan) are incredibly inspiring, working for peace, freedom, and democracy. Their projects include womens' literacy, orphanages, education, human rights, health care, and more. (Canadians Support Afghan women)

The diversity of Africa makes it tough to write anything short, but a few of the issues women there are facing include poverty, violence (also sexual violence), AIDS, and slavery. Let them tell it in their own words: Read some African women's blogs.

This year, women marking International Women's Day were beaten and arrested. Despite the ongoing oppression of women in Iran, there is a strong and vibrant Iranian women's movement fighting for their rights, on their terms.

The truth is, there's not enough to room to write everything I want to say to express my solidarity with my brave and beautiful sisters all over the world.

So check out Amnesty International, CBC, Labourstart, and InterPress Service for much much more.

(Last Year's Post)

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