International Women's Day & Mother's Day wishes to all women around the world. Especially to the incredible ones in our family.

As a few of you might already know, we lost our Grandmother a few weeks ago. During the time that followed her passing, many came to pay their respects. They shared stories about the matriarch of our family, her ancestors, and shared a lot of their own. Mother’s Day and International Women’s Day celebrations have made me think about some of those stories and struggles.

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Social, economical and cultural issues of the world feel like a gigantic gender equality mountain, and I’ve always been in great awe of the incredible females, whose actions help us climb closer. What I understood from these stories closer to home, was that these small steps were taken in every household, with women across the globe.

I’ve heard stories from my Great Grandmother, Grandmother, Mother, Aunts and great Aunts about the struggles women before them faced. Recollections of books being torn up, schooling refused and marriages being arranged way before their time, to men twice their age.

I heard of an occasion not so long ago, where after a woman gave birth to a beautiful girl, other women apologised to her for the disappointment of a female. A woman’s worth was based upon her ability to bear a boy child.

There were complaints of wives woken up past midnight to cook dinner for their drunk husbands' friends. A women’s place was expected to be in the kitchen. Their lives dictated by mother in laws that faced the same hardship, but were happy to enslave the next generation (regrettably there were too many incidents where women were holding back other women).

Getting your period put you in isolation and was some kind of punishment for being female and far from having the right to vote, having a man take their opinion seriously would have been a treat.

I could tell, recollecting these memories of injustice evoked pain and anger for them, but above all, I heard strength and pride in their voices. That pride came from knowing they refused to raise their daughters the same way. They taught that standing together as women of the world collectively, slowly changes can, and will be made.

The women in my family are loving, compassionate, maternal and warm (not biased, promise!). Most of all, they are pillars of strength, smart, witty, principled and sometimes just downright stubborn.

They’ve all had a hand in raising my sister and I as strong, independent women. As I’m sure you already know, we bang on about it enough, we look to our Dad for a lot of inspiration too…but that’s probably because he’s the biggest feminist we know 😉

For us now personally, there is no gender segregation. A woman’s opinion and decision is trusted and valued equally. Opportunities are vast and there is mutual respect for goals and values. In fact, we're pushed more than our male counterparts to achieve. I know we’re a long way from the finish line, but I won’t just regard how much has been achieved so far.

So, I’d like to say thank you to those who fought for our voice, and most importantly, the right to speak. To you, I wish you a Happy Women’s Day.

To the women that will raise women, empower them, teach them right for wrong, and to stand against oppression, I wish you a Happy Women’s Day.

To the women who confiscate books for aprons, force child-marriage, perform genital mutilation, female-infanticide, and commit every other insult to humanity and the fight for freedom and gender equality; I hope you can bathe in the light of our foremothers, respect their struggles, understand the injustice you are carrying out, and break tradition. I wish for you, an understanding of Women’s Day.

Simi x

 

Great Grandmother        naniji       12751764_10153480621716235_1766436550_o

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