In honor of women around the world, and in recognition of International Women’s Day, I’m sharing 5 divine ways to educate, inspire and empower.
As the old Virginia Slims slogan reads, “You’ve come a long way baby!” And indeed, women around the world have made remarkable strides in areas of politics, medicine, education, the arts and sciences, sports, business and more. But lest we forget, many are still fighting for their basic rights as human beings. And while there are those of us who have indeed earned equal pay for equal work, others have not.
Sex slavery, honor killings, domestic violence… The United Nations website estimates, “that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime”.
But as Anne Frank said, “Where there’s hope, there’s life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.” And the spirit and strength of women knows no bounds. Who knows, in 2017 we may see the first female President of the United States elected.
For now, I hope you enjoy and share these words and ways of encouragement with the women you love. To all you Domestic Divas, you are Divine! I wish you a very happy International Women’s Day.
Educate, Inspire and Empower This International Women’s Day
1. Watch A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness, the 2016 Academy Award winning documentary by Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. This 40-minute film tackles the tough topic of honor killings in Pakistan, from a rare point of view: a survivor’s. Saba, an 18-year-old girl, was shot and thrown in a river by her own family for secretly eloping with her lover — and lived to tell the tale. Available on HBO.
2. Make a micro-loan at Kiva. Kiva.org microfunds is a 501 non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to low-income entrepreneurs and students in 82 countries. Kiva’s mission is “to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty.” I have gifted some of my young female family and friends with certificates for Kiva. It’s a wonderful way to teach our youth about the challenges others around the world face and how they can help others who are working toward a brighter future, independence and sustainability for themselves and their families. You direct your micro-loan by selecting the gender, geography and trade/work you’d like to support.
4. Volunteer! You have mad skills ladies – put em to good use by sharing your time and talent. I know what you’re thinking, “I can barely find time to shower and eat properly each day.” Volunteering is not only a gift to others, it’s a gift to yourself. Taking just an hour or two a month to invest in a cause or group that you care about is caring for yourself. It will remind you of your individual value, shake-up your routine and create new experiences, help you meet other like-minded people, and afford you the opportunity to do good, make change, and improve the world we live in. Most of us want and need to be of service outside of the home. Don’t know where to start? Check out VolunteerMatch.org. And remember, don’t over commit. Volunteering should be manageable and enjoyable. The last thing you need is another daunting obligation. Let volunteering be your time to connect with you, and something you feel passionately about.
5. Say Something Nice. Just today, while enjoying my free pancakes at IHOP for their National Pancake Day, (Um, happy coincidence that on International Women’s Day the International House of Pancakes is offering free pancakes? I think not. What woman doesn’t love a free pancake?) while waiting for a table, my friend and I noticed two particularly lovely women. On the way out, I stopped at their table to let them know how beautiful I thought they were. The connection we made, albeit brief, was instant and genuine. In that moment, we did connect, as women, as sisters of the same soul tribe, and it was glorious. It made me happy and I know it brightened their day too. It doesn’t cost a thing to share some words of encouragement, good cheer or a compliment. In a largely digital world where people communicate from a phone or computer, please, don’t be afraid to use your voice, your real voice – it can touch others in ways a text or an emoji can’t.