Today is the one day in the year dedicated to recognizing the feminine spirit and all its countless gifts in a world that is rapidly becoming more soulless. Beautiful messages will be circulated on social media and, no doubt, statements by various organizations and international bodies. All well-intended but what weight will they carry?
I happen to be born on this International Women’s Day and my sensitivity to the contrast between the messages on this day and the reality we are living is even more acute. As I write this, according to Women for Women International, of the 82.4 million people currently displaced from their homes, 80% are women and children. Do we have the collective muscle to do anything about this tragedy of the feminine spirit of nurturing on which all life depends? Will the Secretary General of the United Nations, an organization created after World War II to prevent war, address the world from his place of authority on this day, when we are witnessing escalating war crimes involving millions more Ukrainian women and children? Will he call on the hearts and minds of the global human community to mobilize its resources and resolve to unite to stop any war-mongering despot, stand for justice, and ensure protection for the feminine spirit on which our families and the planet depend?
I cannot celebrate on this day because, as the Fire Tablet I read every day for Ukraine succinctly summarizes it,
The lamps of truth and purity, of loyalty and honor, have been put out…
There will probably be speeches. But they may sound like the small print on a cup of fruit yoghurt I picked up for breakfast, which said “natural and artificial flavoring”. Utterly meaningless. Do we even get bothered any more by such meaningless catchy phrases that surround us on every side? “Humanitarian corridors” declared open by Putin for bombed Ukrainian women and children to evacuate — but only to Russia or Belarus which are under his fist?! Will anyone aside from President Zelensky say publicly what a moral outrage that is?
If we are to celebrate International Women’s Day meaningfully, there would have to be some moral muscle behind it. Some backbone. Some language that translates into something real and viable.
And there are ways to do that. See, for example, the work of the Global Governance Forum, which addresses the current perplexities of this U.N. body, and offers practicable ways to help it reform itself so that it can actually stand for peace and protect women and children (https://globalgovernanceforum.org/global-issues/un-reform/).