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everyday is woman’s day

Here is a post I wrote a few years back talking about woman's day....

One of my favorite stories in the bible is that of the Hebrew midwives. The Hebrew’s were slaves in Egypt. The pharaoh was the most powerful man in the world. He decided that the son’s of the Hebrews should be put to death so they wouldn’t rebel. He called the midwives to his palace and told them to kill the boys as they where born. The midwives, named Shifrah and Puah stood up to and refused to follow this order. They told a story about how the Hebrew women where so good at birth, they never seemed to get there on time. I would have loved to meet these women. This story is thousands of years old and shows the courage the 2 women had, to stand up to what was right.

Today has been designated day of the woman. I thought I could ignore it but with it being mentioned and talked about everywhere it was hard to do. Our government has funded millions of dollars to support female health overseas. The women’s rights march on Washington organizers have called for women to stay home from work today. I am a home maker, a wife, a keeper of the house. I am at work. What does this say to women who have made the decision to work at home? Where should we go? We hear of women’s rally’s happening across the country. we hear women who are fighting for reproductive rights. Feminists unite!

What does this all really mean? While I do try and engage in conversation about controversial subjects I don’t often write long posts about it as it can cause a lot of angry and unproductive conversations. Today, being woman’s day, and me, being a woman, I feel like I can stand up and say my piece. So here it goes.

Abortion. That is the underlying theme in all of the talk going on today. The fight for the right to abort an unborn child. This is the reason that our government is spending money overseas. This is what they consider to be the basic right of all women. It sounds good, access to safe abortion services. We don’t want women dying because they don’t have access and will try other non-medical methods and then die. The woman’s march on Washington was started by organizations whose main focus is the right for women to abort an unborn child. The main focus of the feminists movement is a woman’s right to equality which includes the right to abort an unborn child.

“So,” you may ask,” don’t you think a woman should have say over what happens to her own body? Shouldn’t she be able to have access without judgment to services that provide ‘birth control’ so that she can decide when or if she should have a baby?” I imagine that someone might say to me “You must hate women who choose to have an abortion. You must be brainwashed to think that women shouldn’t have control of their reproductive organs. You must be small minded and not care about women. “ I wonder if someone might think I am for the opposite of feminism. Is there such a thing?

I am absolutely for the rights and freedom for all people. Women are not inferior or weaker or less intelligent then men. Women have the ability to make decisions for themselves. Do you know your history? We have seen throughout the ages what women have accomplished. We are powerful and yet have been made vulnerable in so many ways. Across the world in every culture we have seen women abused. In war, women are used, are treated as less then animals. In peace, women are abused, harassed, held down from their true potential.

I have sometimes been told that I am anti-man because I say things like this but I am far from that. There are amazing, wonderful, caring people around us. Mr. Rogers said “look for the helpers” and we see that everyday. Men risking their lives, rushing into situations to help. Strong leaders who encourage and love their families and communities. Fighting for the rights of women does not in anyway negate the men out there who fight right along side us. Bringing attention to the inequalities does not in anyway say that what men go through is any less troubling. However, the truth is that women do have to be more aware, more diligent and more determined in the fight for recognition and respect.

So back to the topic of women’s day. All over the world today, in every country, in every community, women struggle. We cheer loudly because our government gave millions and we yell and shake our fists as we rally for rights. But somewhere in all of that is women who have been hushed, silenced, whose whisper is not being heard. These women are asking for the same things all these movements want, reproductive rights, to make decisions over their own bodies, to be recognized as intelligent beings who can make their own choices. And yet we see the total suppression and shut down of this aspect. The freedom to birth. On the totally opposite side of the spectrum, the right to bring life into the world. Women who want to be able to choose, not only when or if they carry a child. They want to decide where they birth their child, who they invite to their birth and how they care for their baby.

It often puzzles me as to why the rights to reproductive choice is such a big and powerful lobby. I think to understand that we have to look back through history. There are many books written on that subject, please learn the rich history of women who fought hard for equal rights. When women began this fight, along with the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to be a person under the law; babies where mostly born at home. It wasn’t even something women thought about. They got pregnant, birthed at home surrounded by other women and breastfeed. If there was difficulties with that then they sought help from other women, wise women, midwives, community. All to soon and very subtly that was taken away. It almost feels like ‘permission’ was given that if the women spend time fighting for the reproductive rights they won’t be focused on birthing rights. Piece by piece over the last century the basic rights of women to birth at home, to choose who cares for them, to decide what they want for their baby has been taken away. All over the world the art of midwifery is disappearing. Women are being persecuted for doing what women have been doing for eons, birthing and helping others birth. Why, I ask myself, are women not up in arms over this? Why are we not filling the streets and demanding our rights to carry and birth babies as we see fit?

We tell our young women, “ you can do whatever or be whoever you want. Look at all the progress, look how far we have come. You can decide to have a child or not. You can choose when and with whom you want to have a child”. I know for the majority of women in the world this is not something they can even consider, even women in our own country often don’t have this option. For the majority of women in the world, their access to wise women, to midwifes has been taken away. They are dying not because of lack of abortion services but because of lack of community midwifes. They are forced to travel hours to seek medical care. They are told that this is progress, come get drugs, be monitored, let us tell you if you can do this or not. We have to work in our country first. We need community midwives. We need women who can share their knowledge and wisdom, women’s wisdom. The wisdom that those midwives thousands of years ago knew and stood up for. Lets raise our banners for this. Lets shout from the rooftops. Lets take back what was always ours.

On this day of the woman let’s honour those who have come before. Let us recognize those women who spent years in the service of others. Who rose in the night, who left her own family to travel to help a fellow woman. Let us remember the women of a thousand generations. The women who birthed us and who raised us. Let us remember the women who worked hard to provide for their families. The women who have brought us to this place.

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them”


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