a promise is a promise

IWD logo 2013

A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence Against Women

This is the theme for the March 8th, 2013, International Women’s Day activities around the world.

Although great progress has been made through the years since the 1900’s beginning of this celebration, there is still so much to be done. In some places, equitable opportunities exist for women in education, employment, access to resources and benefits, but shamefully, in other parts of our globe, women are still treated like property, abuse and violence are common, and options are excessively restricted. This needs to change.

“There is one universal truth,
applicable to all countries, cultures and communities:
violence against women is never acceptable,
never excusable, never tolerable.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Here are some websites that you can visit to begin to learn more about the history of the day, the issues facing women presently, and how you can get involved to support and encourage the women in your life… as well as value and protect all women around our world.

YOU can make a difference. Think globally and act locally…

http://www.internationalwomensday.com/

http://www.un.org/en/events/womensday/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/international-womens-day

What will you do to help end violence against women?

why is diversity so hard?

studying togetherWhy is it so hard?

I often asked this question regarding my children when they couldn’t seem to get along. I have asked it about financial integrity, about exercise discipline, and about conflict resolution. These good goals seem to immediately attract excuses, emotional responses, and resistance as soon as we mention them.

Today, however, I ask it about men and women working together with mutual respect, equal opportunity, and sincere appreciation of the varied passions and strengths that both bring to the table.

Why is diversity so hard?

Why haven’t we been able to eliminate the disrespectful jokes and comments? Why don’t we apply the abundant literature that states how important it is to have gender diversity on teams and in leadership in order to increase the health and productivity of our organizations? Why do we continue to make excuses for antiquated policies and “old school” leaders that we know need to change? Why aren’t we willing to have honest and open discussions about moving beyond stereotypical criticisms and moving toward understanding, equity, flexibility, and progress?

I have actually been blessed to work in many situations and on many teams where men and women contributed and collaborated well together as unique individuals, valuing and appreciating variety in gender – as well as culture, age, experience, and expertise. Sadly, I have also worked in settings where people chose sides in constant battles for respect and opportunity.

I don’t believe there is any legitimate reason for such disparity and division between men and women. My faith tells me the root cause is our selfish sin…. thinking more highly of ourselves than we think of others, which leads to lack of respect, competition, insecurity and defensiveness. Maybe that is why this struggle is so entrenched and why it is so hard to defeat.

Although I get weary of the conflicts and I don’t have answers to all the questions, I think this challenge is worth fighting for – just like sibling love, balanced budgets, a strong body, and healthy relationships. Excuses, emotions, and resistance yield to information, open communication, and accountability for positive change. Offenses can transform into advocacy. I’d like to see grand-scale improvement, but many days I accept being content with small steps of progress. I start with changes in my life, and then I move to being an example for others. Maybe it will always be hard… but it can get better.

One day our descendants will think
it incredible that we paid so much attention to things
like the amount of melanin in our skin
or the shape of our eyes or our gender
instead of the unique identities of each of us
as complex human beings.
-Franklin Thomas

What do you do with hard situations? How do you bring about change?