Every March 8th, people from all over the world gather to celebrate International Women’s Day. The day is meant to both celebrate women’s achievements and to further underline the work that remains to ensure the equality of women.
We know that the various gatherings in Ethiopia to celebrate March 8 will not include all women. It will not include those of us who are within the LBTQ community despite the theme for this year being #BreakTheBias. It would have been ideal to be included – as gender and sexual minorities – in a dialogue that also centered our issues and lived realities. While this will continue to place us as second class citizens in our country, we should use March 8 for an internal dialogue within our community.
It is a good opportunity either to start or to continue a critical engagement with questions as per the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day. Some of the questions we need to raise include: How do we deal with our differences in our community? How can we be better about being inclusive? How can we be better allies? How do we contribute to creating a world that is free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination”? How do we work for a world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive? How do we create a world where difference is valued and celebrated?
Each of us need to remember, as Audre Lorde said, that “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own”.
Happy International Women’s Day!