By Ettie Rutherford
When Canada joined the American suffragettes — who had fought for women to be allowed to vote, fought for other women’s rights and for the initiation of International Women’s Day — our country was boldly declaring that there had to be significant changes in the way women were viewed, treated, and disrespected.
Still, we should never forget how extremely difficult, exhausting, and time consuming it is for women to improve their lives. In spite of the efforts of Dr. Emily Stowe and others, it was not until January 27, 1916, that women were allowed, for the first time, to vote in Manitoba. Other provinces followed.
So how do we move forward in a world that continues to degrade women, through sexism and racism?
How do we move forward in a world, where far too many women are experiencing life as single mothers; a world, where mothers see their sons killing, and are being killed, through gun violence; a world, where pregnant teenage girls are ignored; a world that accepts physical and emotional abuse against girls and women as a minor occurrences; a world, where women, who are advocates, are seen, even by other “sisters”, as being too aggressive?
International Women’s Day will be mere lip service, if we do not see ourselves, not just as leaders, but as servants, whose main focus is on the needs of those whom we have pledged to serve.
So, in the spirit of International Women’s Day, let us acknowledge, and assist, in improving each woman’s life, by focusing on the “whole woman”. Women need more than the ability to acquire money and “stuff”. We need to be mindful that there is a desperate need for physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being, and that medicating ourselves with Tim Horton’s coffee, will not be enough to get rid of stress — a health hazard, which is now being accepted, world-wide, as a normal part of women’s lives.
Jesus did not die on the cross for women to be regarded as second-class citizens, or for us to ignore the needs of those, who might be seen as less-educated, or unable to be their own advocates. Let us strive to be more strategic. Being busy, does not mean being effective.
Let us focus on specific actions, by respecting policies and practices that are inclusive, that reflect anti-racism and anti-sexism practices, that teach everyone to respond, instead of reacting, to the challenges that forge the everyday life of women and girls.
Let us join hands, to make everyday International Women’s Day.
Award-winning Ettie Rutherford, B.Ed, Dip.Ed, M.Ed, is an educator, life coach, consultant and author of “Why Perch Like A Chick When You Can Soar Like An Eagle?”. An accomplished public speaker, Ettie is the Founder and CEO of Women Are Worthy, which provides step-by-step strategies for women to achieve their goals, with a minimum amount of stress. She can be reached at email@example.com