Young women are awakening to the fact that many rights and freedoms they have known for a lifetime are not cast in stone. There also seems to be beyond-Susan-B-Anthony-level interest in Women’s History Month and increased interest in International Women’s Day. In some places, this includes A Day Without A Woman — a strike designed to highlight the contributions women make to commerce and to community.
I’ve been reading a variety of authors, news sources and social commentary and, am still not sure how I feel about the concept. After all, many women wear red for Valentine’s Day and to raise awareness of heart health. And not going to work? Probably not a safe or reasonable option for those making $0.78 on the dollar.
I’ve spent much of my life working as an advocate for women, children, and people with disabilities so, what I often do in the face of loud, political noise? I make it personal. Individual. It helps me to remember that all issues have individual people and families connected to them. So, with apologies to event organizers, this is my #daywithoutawoman.
Hundreds — maybe thousands — of people would not have enjoyed their Independence Day celebrations without the pyrotechnic expertise of this woman. Oh… and then there are the people she has helped as a volunteer firefighter and, more recently, as a paramedic. And the ones who have been inspired by her willingness to pursue her love of art.
For more than twenty years, this woman traveled each week to a women’s prison where she met with women who wanted to change their lives. There’s no telling how many changed, or how dramatically… but those who were touched by her kindness, her wisdom, and her patience, went on to share those things with others.
I’m not sure that, when someone has been sexually assaulted, she cares about the number of other people her advocate has helped — she just wants someone to help her restore some balance in order to make important decisions. And, if said advocate created a mechanism to support others in this difficult work? Well, then she would be the woman pictured here.
And speaking of advocates… I can’t count the number of children made safer, parents become more attentive, crises averted and workers trained to do the job right if not for this woman. Oh. And she led the charge to start the first child advocacy center in her state.
And, yes. I’m listing them here anonymously because that’s how they’ve worked: accomplishing vital work, both paid and unpaid, to help prevent violence and decrease crime. To help people in dire straights stand back up and believe in themselves and their right to be safe.
On this International Women’s Day I honor them and millions like them. I believe I speak for the thousands their passion and skills have touched when I say, “may you never experience #daywithoutawoman.”