For the first 20 years of my life, International Women’s Day passed by without any acknowledgment. As an internationally recognized holiday to honor the women in our lives, the U.S. sheds far less light on this day than most other countries. I remember on March 8, 2011, I was walking out of a seafood restaurant on the coast of Chile with a friend and the waiter handed each of us a white rose. He smiled, bowed his head slightly, and thanked us.
“What was that about?” I asked my Chilean friend.
“It’s International Women’s Day!” she replied so enthusiastically I almost felt embarrassed for not knowing such an important date. As we walked through the streets, I began to notice we were not the only women carrying roses. While looking back on how grateful I was to be acknowledged on that day for my contributions as a woman to society, some women take the tradition of receiving flowers one step further by saying, “Don’t give me roses, give me respect!” I love to receive flowers, but respect, yes, respect is so much more permanent than a cut-flower that lasts three days in a vase.
In honor of International Women’s Day, Women’s History Month, and the year 2013 which is the year of the female water snake, I have recommitted myself to the women’s liberation movement. I hosted a women’s dinner party last week, attended lectures by Vandana Shiva and Starhawk, and danced the night away with girlfriends I grew up with. Building a strong and diverse community of women where we can hold sacred spaces to share our thoughts, dreams, hopes (and despair!) for the future is crucial for the women’s liberation movement.
The water snake of 2013 paves the path of rebirth, new beginnings and transformation as she sheds her skin. I feel encouraged to let go of what keeps me separate from women, especially in the past, so we can empower one another to be leaders of the women’s liberation movement.
Love and blessings to all the women of the world- we are so brave!