I’m reposting an article I posted on my old blog Poverty matters in February about the women we sometimes don’t see. They may not be the suited and booted executives in top firms; they may not be the picture perfect women we see in magazines and on our tv screens. They’re lionesses not contained or defined by their often desperate circumstances. I’ve had the privilegde of meeting such women and their attitude and spirit has taught me a lesson i hope to never forget.
In the midst of injustice and poverty the indomitable women stand tall and proud. They’ve been beaten; they’ve been knocked back but the glint of hope glimmers in their eyes. Travel to the most desolate parts of the world and there you find a humbling spirit about them. There’s a lesson that they can teach about hard work and perseverance. These women are each other’s keepers, succinctly put in the proverb “cross the river in a crowd and the crocodile won’t eat you.” What a contrast to the individualistic society we live in where the mantra “each man for himself and God for us all” is worn as a badge of honour.
In a world filled with a feminist rhetoric we often forget the struggle and plight of women outside our immediate communities. Whilst we raise the banner of women empowerment (as wonderful as it is) we often neglect the fact that those we see in our communities and those represented by the media form a very small percentage of the bigger world view. The western world constitutes approximately 14% of the world population meaning the women we encounter have a completely different experience from the other 86% of the world.
The suffragette movement had a tremendous impact for women in the west and perhaps the rest of the world yet if you look further than the media and what you see around you, you’ll find that 2 thirds of illiterate people are women. Amartya Sen a Nobel peace economist suggested that there could be 100million missing women due to gender selection and son preference.
Who will tell the story of the indomitable women? Who will raise a banner for their plight? Who will be the voice for the women who never where.
Don’t despise your powerlessness. Knowledge about their plight is better than ignorance. Through knowledge we acknowledge them.