"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own."
--- Audre Lorde
Today is International Women's Day.
It's also the Day Without A Woman.
And, oh. I have such mixed feelings about the Day Without A Woman. I mean . . . if we could all - as in ALL of us identifying as women - actually step away for a day? Well. It would truly be something. But that can't really happen, can it? For lots of reasons, lots of women will choose not to participate in the Day Without A Woman -- either because they can't or they won't or they forgot or they don't know how. And then, a day like this kind of loses its impact, y'know?
I'm probably just overthinking.
And I'm also supporting.
This morning I put on my Nevertheless-She-Persisted t-shirt . . .
Layered on a red sweater and my red peace-sign earrings . . .
And then agonized over whether I should go out to breakfast with Tom or not. (Because by going out to breakfast, I was spending money AND possibly contributing to other women having to work . . . and there I go, overthinking again.) In the end, I went. Justifying it because we went to a local restaurant serving local fare. Also woman-owned. And I was heartened to see . . . only one woman working in the entire place (where there are usually many)!
As for the rest of my day, I'll spend it NOT spending any money, supporting women - all women - no matter their choices, AND . . . thinking about my sisters all over the world.
I'll also be chewing on this for the rest of the day (from the New York Times Wednesday Briefing this morning):
- Rwanda is the #1 country in the world when it comes to women representatives in parliament, with 61% in their lower house and 38% in their upper house.
- Next is Bolivia, with women holding 53% of the seats in their lower house, and 47% in their upper house.
- (Both of these countries, by the way, have official measures requiring representation by women in elected office. Bolivia requires there to be at least 50% representation by women in elected office, and Rwanda's stipulates at least 30% representation by women in parliament.)
- Cuba comes in at #3 -- with women holding nearly half of the seats in their National Assembly. (Interesting to note that Cuba uses "positive discrimination" to reach that balance.)
- Iceland, Nicaragua, Sweden, Senegal, Mexico, Finland and South Africa fill out the top 10.
- As for the US? (Ahhhh, yes. I think you know how this is going to come out.) The U.S. is No. 104, with 83 women out of 435 representatives, and 21 of 100 senators.
Yeah. We've got our work cut out of us, don't we?
"If you're going to change things, you have to be with the people who hold the levers."
--- Ruth Bader Ginsburg