It’s International Women’s Day and today, as with everyday, I celebrate (with) all women and girls around the world!
I commend us all for the sacrifices we make, the burdens we bear, the changes we influence, the care we give, the love we share, the hope we restore, the strength we embody, going against the odds to succeed, and for a million other things we represent and do as women in this world.
I celebrate the Queens we are, giving birth to Princesses and Princes, partners to Kings, Mothers of the Universe and leaders in our Kingdoms. I celebrate us Lingueres, for even when the crown gets heavy, we still tote it atop our heads with dignity and unrivaled strength!
I celebrate my mother, my ultimate Linguere, for going against all the odds and raising her children and others under her care all alone. I never have to look far for motivation and inspiration and I pray I become even half the woman she is. I celebrate my grandmother too, for setting the pace and inspiring strength through generations.
I celebrate my teachers, mentors, and the many women taking the lead in developing our communities, countries, continents and the world. Your leadership paves the way for greatness and the future is bright for the younger generation.
I celebrate the woman who wakes up as early as 5am, takes care of her household chores and heads out to the farms, the markets, the offices etc to earn a living and give her children a better life than she had.
I celebrate and empathise with that woman who wakes up and tries to cover bruises on her body and face, a result of the severe beating she received from her partner the night before.
I celebrate and give my voice to the little girl lying on a mat, legs splayed apart while older women around her engage in excited chatter, as she loses her clitoris and becomes a ‘full woman’.
I lie beside the mother who is forced to abort her baby -one she had fallen in love with- just because it came with a vagina and is, therefore, worth little or nothing at all. Womanhood is sacred and I celebrate her today.
I remember the many victims of honor killings- stoned to death, drowned, suffocated, slaughtered, shot at- all in the name of restoring dignity. May God in heaven grant you the pleasures and freedom you were deprived of here on Earth.
I stand with all girls and women who’ve had their innocence stolen in childhood, during war, down that dark alley, within the walls of the homes where we are supposed to feel safe. I celebrate you and share my hugs when the hot flashes return and the trauma continues, even after 15 years. Rape is not your fault and you have nothing to be guilty for.
I celebrate, stand by and add my voice to the cries and calls of all women and girls who have been, are and will be victims of violence. One in three women could be me… and it is!
I celebrate the women who are rising against the status quo and proving that we are strong, phenomenal and forces to reckon with.
This year, the United Nations celebrates IWD with the theme ‘Equality for Women is progress for all’ and calls for more involvement from men and boys through the #HeForShe campaign. Partnership is the way forward.
So today, I also celebrate our men and boys! Yes, I shall never tire of saying we can only really make great progress if we work together as partners. This is what the world needs and it will lead to progress in attaining equality and development. Gender equality is not just a women’s issue; it is humanity’s issue!
I celebrate the men in my life, and around the world, who recognise that women are equal beings and who continue to support us and work with us as we strive for excellence. I celebrate and commend all men who see women as partners and are not intimidated by a woman’s success.
I celebrate the men who say NO to violence and are ready to protect the women folk from any of its forms.
I have had quite a handful of these amazing men in my life and suffice to say, it has made a big difference and contributed to who I am. They’ve been some of my biggest mentors and supporters and I’m grateful for their presence in my life. I celebrate my WE-MEN today! I love you all!
Remember, equality for women is indeed progress for all! Let us reflect on this and work towards a better world, where gender is no longer an obstacle to success and growth.
Happy Women’s Day everyone!