Today is International Women’s Day, a day not only recognizing women around the world who have fought and continue to fight for women’s rights and equality, but also a call to action for the work that still needs getting done. The theme for 2019 is: “Think equal, build smart, innovate for change,” focusing on innovative ways to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women.
While many advancements for women in the US and around the world continue to be hard fought and won, so much more is left to be achieved. Women and girls in nations around the world continue to be treated as second class citizens or do not have full agency over their lives. But we do not have to go looking far around the globe to find gender inequality or women’s rights issues.
Here in the US, women – especially mothers of color who have low incomes – struggle for economic justice, socio-political representation, and fairness. As Matthew Desmond said in his Pulitzer Prize winning treatise, Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, “The face of the eviction epidemic belongs to moms and kids, and it has a disproportionate effect on low-income African American women and low-income Latino women.” Despite a Judeo-Christian Western moral code where the most vulnerable are to be shown the most love and compassion, communities around the country continue to allow the victimization of women in all facets of society. We can and must do better. As the theme for 2019 states, we must “think equal, build smart, and innovate for change.”
I am proud to be the President and CEO of the Buckhead Christian Ministry where we not only embody this year’s theme in practice, but also in our demographics: 85% of our staff and well over half of the trustees and volunteers are women. Every day, I am blessed to watch strong women helping other women and their families break barriers and navigate crises using innovative strategies that spark lifelong changes. Even more than direct service providers, my female colleagues are advocates and champions for our clients, amplifying their voices to those in power who can build smarter environments in which our low-income families live. I thank and encourage these women to continue to stand up for and with those who are struggling to stand alone. Keep up the great work. You are an inspiration to me every day.
And Mom, if you’re reading this, you are the reason I know that women can do anything. You are the reason I think equal. I love you.