International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day is also a call to action through events large and small focusing on equality.

The first observance of a Women’s Day was held on Februrary 28, 1909 in New York City. In 1910 the International Women’s Conference suggested to name it International Women’s Day and to celebrate on March 8. Until the United Nations adopted the event in 1975, the event was mostly celebrated in socialist and communist countries.

In France, it’s only in 1982 that the government, under François Mitterrand’s socialist presidency, gives an official status to the day. There, March 8 is called International Women’s Rights Day.

For full disclosure that day was largely ignored and even slightly mocked in France, at least until I left. Now France has embraced the parity, something that American women sometimes envy. Is it working? My French friends, let us know.

Here, in the U.S., 2018 is not any other year for women.

Only within the vibrant community of children’s literature authors and illustrators, women are honored throughout the whole month of March with daily postings that can be read on the KidLitWomen Facebook.

The posts, most often written by well-known female authors and illustrators, trigger crucial reflection. Just to cite a few areas of concern: the inequal financial compensation between men and women in the publishing industry, the larger number of men who receive the most coveted awards in the field of children’s literature, the need for boys to read books written by female authors, even when the main character is a girl since girls never turn a book down because a man wrote it and a boy is the main character.

Today, in honor of International Women’s Day, many women will wear ultra-violet. Others will wear red to support A Day Without a Woman. But we don’t need to wear any specific color to honor women at large. In my jeans and striped shirt, I am still celebrating.

I am celebrating the women who are part of my life or have only crossed it, years ago or recently.

I am celebrating the women who make me proud to be a woman and offer me a sense of belonging.

In no specific order…

 

It is the super mega YA literature star who signs my copy of her novel, even though I’m not waiting in line, just because I tell her that I won’t be able to stay for her signing. Her novels are unforgettable. Now she is too.

It is the cashier from my local drugstore who recognizes me as I stand in front of the ice cream window poundering whether I should pick mint chocolate chips or raspberry double chocolate and asks me how I am doing since she saw me last.

It is the unknown woman who turns toward me at the end of our yoga practice and says with a warm smile, “Namaste.”

It is my young writing critique partner who texts me through the day, updating me on her writing but mostly checking on me, making sure I’m doing okay on my side of town.

It is the college student at the grocery store who says I must be a great baker when she sees the content of my shopping basket.

It is the little girl who pulls on her mom’s hand on the Target parking lot and announces that she knows me because I’m the lady who writes books.

It is the woman who shares my exact birth date but grew up thousands of miles away from me, and yet felt so familiar when we spoke of our girlhood, similar in so many ways.

It is my older writer friend who combed relentlessly through my stories when I was getting more serious about writing, never ceased to encourage me and never showed signs of impatience.

It is the lady who smiles at me at the red light because she has noticed that we are both singing out loud in our cars.

It is the high school sophomore girl who tells me that she writes every day but has never told anyone.

It is my daughter who sends me funny cat emojis and her sister who texts at odd hours to tell me she misses me.

It is my longtime writing partner and now great friend who emails me, texts me, and calls me, when I am just thinking of her.

It is every female author behind the heartfelt, honest, daring novels that fill my Women Only shelf in my small den.

It is you, my fellow woman blogger and reader.

I Am One of You.

I Am With You.

 

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