Up a Ladder
I began International Women's Day up a ladder, in my Blundstones, with a power tool, wrestling with a hedge for my friend Carla. So many good things happened for me today. I got to work, doing a job that I enjoy, I sent my girls off to get an education, I read a book, I had a nap, I cooked a healthy dinner for my children. I had a very privileged March 8.
Last night I watched a video by a Swedish researcher who wanted to help students to understand their relative place in the world in regards to things. Most of the Swedish students she interviewed imagined that they were about in the middle of the distribution of the world's wealth. Anna Rosling Ronnlund sent out a team of photographers all around the world to create a visual database to demonstrate to us all our place in the world. The Swedish students are of course, right there at the top of income distribution, as are most of the readers of this blog.
I love projects like this. I am such a nosey parker. As a child my favourite reading matter was a stack of old National Geographics. I loved diving into the details of other people's lives. I still do, which is how I have managed to lose a few hours on this website. To really drill down, click on a family, which will take you to a house tour, then you can click on any object in that tour which will allow you to compare that object with the same object of every other household in every income bracket all over the world. You can compare the stoves, beds, toys, toothbrushes and toilets of the world!
How does all of this relate to International Women's Day? I have a lot of ideas jumbled up in my head. How very little material goods so many people have. How mostly poverty is a product of inequality of power and resources. How improving the lot of women and girls lifts a whole community. How here in our highly developed societies most women have freedom, autonomy, choice and material wealth beyond the dreams of the vast majority of the world's poorest women, and yet we are spiritually bankrupt, in a culture of violence, which treats both men and women as pawns in a mad game designed to extract wealth from the many and concentrate it in the hands of the few. Where role models for our girls are the women who have competed and won in the vile and violent game that is the power structure that frames our society.
There is lots to work on and so many ways we can do better as women. There are also lots of wonderful, fabulous women who work every day to make the world a better place for our girls in ways that are different and paths that take another route. This is the kind of woman I aspire to be. One who finds a path that is overgrown and little used, and says, "Let's try this one and see what happens." Of course, we will need good boots and some decent pruning equipment for that.