Yesterday marked the 99th annual International Women’s Day; a holiday that honors achievements made by women around the world, and brings light to the unfortunate inequalities that still exist. Celebrations took place in all different countries, including a ceremony at the White House. Eighteen countries held a “Join Me on the Bridge” campaign on more than 100 bridges worldwide, which honored women from war devastated areas, and symbolized the crossing over into a better world.
Although there are still glass ceilings to break, and wage gaps to fill here in the U.S., I feel privileged compared to women elsewhere. In the speech that President Obama gave, he talked about his daughters and their futures. Their future seems much brighter here then it would have been in Obama’s previous home of Indonesia, or his family’s home in Kenya. Women are slowly gaining rights, but sadly there is still a long way to go. Sexual violence, inequality in the courts, lack of career opportunities, and extreme poverty still affect countless women globally. Hurting women means a hurting society.
Last month during a conference held at the UN, diplomats, human rights activists, and celebrities alike discussed the changes that need to be made to benefit women. The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, announced the launching of a campaign called, “The Mother’s Army,” which is based on the idea that the health status and education of mothers, and their role as leaders, will benefit their children, especially their daughters. Hand in Hand International and Avon Foundation for Women also pledged money towards initiatives meant to aid and strengthen women.
There will always be tragedies, and one thing to learn from the media is that the tragedies will always be front page. It is easy to recognize them and it is easy to be discouraged by them. What are more difficult to find sometimes, are the inspirational stories. The women helping other women to reach their full potential. At Barakat we know these women. We work with them every day. We’ll be honoring them in all of our publication this month for Women’s History Month. And we aren’t the only ones showing our gratitude for these women. Women organizations across the world are doing the same thing. Women for women international held the “Join Me at the Bridge” walk in New York, across the Brooklyn Bridge. The turnout was tremendous, and despite the ongoing tragedies across the world, I can’t help but to feel hopeful that together, we can all make a difference.