17 February 2012

Preparing for International Women’s Day

Every year, worldwide, the month of March is dedicated to women – more specifically, to the pursuit of gender equality and women’s empowerment.  March 8th is the particular day for celebrating these efforts.

This year, the theme for International Women’s Day is: Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.  Quite fitting, considering some of the projects I’ve been involved in over the past year.  I’ve had my girls’ club, and they have all become fast friends.  In fact, every single one of them was just elected to the Student Representative Council (I was so proud).  Also, with the help of CDC, we piloted a new life skills program at my school, which was all about identifying with your future self, in order to make better choices today.

To commemorate the day, my counterpart (the senior teacher of guidance and counseling) and I are disseminating information to every student through our “weekly theme.”  On Thursday, March 8, at our house assemblies, students will present on the information we’ve given them.

The more fun commemoration will come on Saturday.  I’ve been working with a women’s group called Mma Sechaba (Mother of the Community).  We’re going to organize a march starting at the kgotla, marching through the village, and ending up at the junior school (my school).  We will then have an afternoon of refreshments, music, and sports and games.  We’re going to do relay races (I’m pulling for three-legged and wheelbarrow races), football games, and netball (similar to basketball) games.  While men and women, girls and boys will be participating in the march, the games are only open to women and girls, to let everyone know that the ladies can kick some ass, too.

I want to take this post a step further.
I want to encourage you, my dear readers, to do something about International Women’s Day. 

To the right of my page, I have a graph of Women’s Day planned activities around the world.  Please go to the website, look at what’s good, and get involved!  If you’re in an urban center, there’s probably something being planned.  If you’re not – take the initiative!  Post something on your facebook/twitter/other ridiculous social media, put flyers and posters out at your workplace, call your family, send a mass email, or if you’re a girl – have a sleepover and talk about all the amazing things you will do with your lives (while braiding each others’ hair)! 

Really into the idea?  Hold a fundraiser of some kind and donate the money you raise to your favorite women’s empowerment non-profit organization or UN Women USA.

The ABCs of Fundraising*:

Afternoon tea/morning tea: have your family, friends or fellow students bring a plate of food and charge an entry fee to all participants.
Artwork sale or auction: hold an exhibit for your family, friend or work colleagues to showcase and sell the artwork created by their own family and school community.
BBQ: hold a BBQ at your school or for friends and family and charge an entry fee or charge for each item consumed.
Benefit performance: organize a concert in your school hall where students perform and charge an entry fee.
Caption competition: get a photo of your school principal or your boss doing something unusual and charge for participants to submit a caption.
Casual day: hold a casual day at your school or workplace and charge each of those who join in.
Contacts: Write to your family, friends and contacts asking them to support International Women’s Day by making a donation

Most importantly, celebrate being a woman or having women in your life, and all the women around the world who work so hard but never get recognized for it.


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