Celebrating International Women’s Day

This year’s International Women’s Day has come at a time of an extraordinary global movement for women and girls rights, equality and justice.  We have seen this in the form of global marches and campaigns including #Me Too and #Times Up in the United States and our counterparts in other countries on issues ranging from sexual harassment to equal pay and women’s political representation.  Women who live in rural communities are especially affected because they make up over a quarter of the world’s population and are being left behind in every measure of development…even in the United States.  That’s why this year’s theme “TIME IS NOW: RURAL AND URBAN ACTIVISTS TRANSFORMING WOMEN’S LIVES” is so significant.

We know that this will not happen overnight. But there is good news! Women are making positive gains every day through their advocacy and activism.

I know that a single moment can spark a revolution. I’m reminded of Rosa Parks,   who on December 1, 1955 disobeyed a bus driver’s order and refused to give up her seat in the “colored section” to a white passenger after the whites-only section was filled.  It was a time of segregation in the United States.  This lead to outcry’s and marches against segregated laws and the birth the Civil Rights Movement. The collective actions of activists’ men and women, white and black, young and old, throughout the country, transformed laws and altered the course of history.

So, let’s not get complacent, for this is our time.