Action after International Women’s Day

I supported the Restless Beings organisation today to stand in solidarity with women across the world facing injustices in conflict regions and with every woman fighting for equality. Women for Women had invited Bianca Jagger, Cherie Blair, Andrew Mitchell and a few other speakers to speak after the march. Myself and a few friends had an informal meeting after this which inspired me to call for action where international women’s day shouldn’t be the only day where women feel they have a voice or have any importance but women should meet more regularly to discuss and raise their voice with anything they feel concerned and passionately about.

A real issue witnessed with the comments made from Cherie Blair, was her constant analysis and sympathy for women living in regions such as Afghanistan, almost making out women only struggle or suffer from economic disadvantages in the ‘uncivilised’ parts of the world where our ever so caring British government love to occupy. Listening to Mrs Blair speak about her organisation in the Middle East for women was like listening to the Pope address child abuse.

Andrew Mitchell discussed international development and his supposed empathy towards the plight for women in regions such as Uganda and Rwanda, which was slightly entertaining seeing as a heap of government propaganda has recently been placed in regards to Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army, where Western government is portrayed the saviour and heroic figure to ‘save’ Africa when re-colonizing Africa is on the agenda, but let’s just erase the memory of America carrying out war crimes and murdering a mass population of innocent civilians consisting of women and children. Mitchell completely ignored anything related to the issues women face in this country where domestic violence is on the forefront and neither did he say anything in relation to the system enforcing patriarchy, which is diabolical in 21st Century Britain.

Conversations I have had with several women where some are part of the revolutionary movement and feel strongly about injustices occurring in different parts of the world, felt they were not receiving the support needed to highlight their struggle as many politically conscious men against a system support patriarchy, regurgitate  misogynist ideologies or objectify women. Women have felt isolated from the ‘movement’, unable to push anything forward on the agenda that was important to them whilst witnessing the internal gender battle amongst colleagues, peers or ‘brothers’ in the struggle.

One thing on my agenda to start for a long time was to start a forum open to women from all walks of life, to feel comfortable and build their confidence by discussing the everyday issues affecting them within society they feel aren’t being addressed. It is our responsibility as women to take matters into our own hands as I don’t trust this system to change anytime soon but I do know change comes when ideologies are challenged. Whilst highlighting issues women feel men need to learn to respect and try to understand without insensitively assuming they have the right to speak on behalf of women if they do not hold the belief they claim to have, the intention for this movement is to empower more women who will go on to be a voice and have the confidence to do great things and develop the strength to be involved or take on inspiring projects of their own during their lifetime. I believe more women should learn to work together, to empower and inspire each other without feeling as though we are competing with one and other but to feed off each other’s energy, spirit and passion to allow topics to be addressed, tackled and move forward.

International Women’s Day isn’t the only day where women should feel important. Women are a sacred part of any movement and putting women in admin roles, to employ them as kitchen staff and to pay them less than a man is not liberation. How dare our country speak of liberating women in Afghanistan and invade when women in England are facing numerous issues which are kept taboo behind closed doors where nobody is willing to listen, seeing as women aren’t oppressed and everything is picture perfect on this island, right?

If you are interested in being a part of this movement which will operate mainly as an open forum which will be video blogged but everyone will have an equal opportunity to implement ideas. Events will also be organised where men will be given the opportunity to listen to women’s stories which will also be expressed through arts and poetry. If you would like to share your voice, what you feel needs to be addressed and want to be involved in planting stubborn seeds against what society expects from us and want to be proactive in defending the rights of the current and upcoming generation of women both locally and globally, please email me on shareefa_p@hotmail.com  to allow us to work together to create something tangible and challenging.

“Thou shall not be a perpetrator, Thou shall not be a victim and thou shall never, never be a bystander.”

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