Thursday, March 8, 2007

A whole DAY for people with vaginas?

It's International Women's Day, an event I hardly knew existed when I was in the U.S., but one which is widely acknowledged in the good ole subconty. If you do one thing to commemorate half the world's population, perhaps it should be visiting the Blank Noise Project, which is a blog/activist group committed to intervening on the behalf of women in India.

Alternatively, you could check out information from the Indian Ministry of Women and Child Development, or head to a seminar held by the National Commission for Women entitled "Mentally Ill Women: Is Destitution the Only Answer?"

Despite the somewhat exploitative/outlandish title, I wish I had been able to attend this colloquiom. Although I don't explicitly address it that often any longer, mental illness is certainly an issue close to my heart, and living outside "my" society has only highlighted the fact that it is only a fortuitous confluence of circumstance -- gender, geographic location, parentage, historical era -- that has allowed me to study, marry, travel, and thrive.

On this (perhaps constructively) manufactured holiday, I'd like to acknowledge the strength of the women in my life, past and present. To, first and foremost, my mother and grandmother, who have modeled for me what a woman should be -- intelligent, independent, feisty, caring, and driven. To the lovely Rita, for accepting so wholeheartedly as a daughter; to all the women of S's family for being thoughtful and involving me in all the family's gatherings. To my best girlfriends from "home," Dina, Mandi, Janessa, and Elaine; and to my most excellent women colleagues (and our single male team member!). There are miles to go before we sleep, but we have, indeed, come a long way.

[Mush aside: Lots of interesting coverage in the news in relation to gender, &c. A short selection of the panoply of articles ...

"Women Struggle to Find Place in Modern India" (DNA)
"Two Steps Forward, One Backward" (Inter Press Service)
"Only 14% Women in Top Management in India" (Rediff)
"Mumbai Taxi Service: No Men Allowed" (CNN)
"Tiny Steps to a Women's March" (Times of India)
"Women to be Kept Off Combat" (Hindustan Times)
"Veet Celebrates Women's Day With Launch of Indian Website" (]

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