International Women’s Day: Women are the solution

Woman Power! by Yoko Ono, via Cara. Lyrics here.

This is a great song any day of the year, but is especially powerful today, on International Women’s Day. We often read (and, let’s be honest, even write here at Feministing) about the problems associated with being a woman in this world. We are targets of domestic violence and public harassment. We are pregnant and treated as nothing more than childbearing vessels, or we want to not be pregnant and are denied that choice. We are trans women and queer women and bi women whose very identity is treated as problematic. We are paid less for the same work — especially if we are women of color. We are women with disabilities who are subject to shockingly high rates of abuse. We are more likely to go hungry, to live in poverty after retirement, to lack access to health care.

But the flip side of all of this — that we are also the solution to these problems — is something we should celebrate more.

To say women are the solution is not to say they are responsible for the deep, systematized reasons why they face disproportionate barriers to empowerment. Women are the solution because, when they are given the freedom and agency to make decisions for themselves, their bodies, their families, we make great strides toward correcting all sorts of inequalities in this world.

Let’s get specific: Guttmacher has a new report on the remarkable gains that are possible for families and communities when you allow women to control their own reproductive destiny. On the Issues reports on what happens when women dismantle male-dominated political power structures. And the World Food Programme explains how women are the solution to global hunger:

Soundtrack is just instrumental. More info here.

To note that women are the solution might seem sort of, well, duh, to regular readers of this blog. But clearly the wider world has yet to take that message to heart. International Women’s Day is a good chance to push it to do just that. As Yoko puts it, “We women have the power to move mountains.”

Read more blogging for IWD here. Also, check out one of the 750 IWD events!

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2 Comments

  1. Comrade Kevin
    Posted March 8, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Despite my reservations with your choice of artist, I heartily agree with the sentiment. :) It is very easy to get hung up on all the problems and not embrace the solutions. I think there’s a part of our development as activists where we are moved to protest and to exercise our sense of righteous indignation, but if that is the extent of what we do, then we’re not being proactive, rather we are being reactive.
    I always rejoice at solutions, since the ain’t it awful echo chamber tends to really depress me after a time. I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way.

  2. AuntieMay
    Posted March 8, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I have a couple of close friends from the former Czechoslovakia. I told them I would be celebrating today and they were very unhappy with me.
    It turns out, International Woman’s Day is perceived there as a Communist creation and celebrating it is out of favor. I did a little research and it turns out that this day is the result of the American Socialist Party.
    I had no idea. No matter, I will celebrate anyway and make a point to write a check to a woman-focused charity.

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