International Women’s Day: Fury, love, curiosity
From the teenage anxieties of an election year in the United States, to a personal commitment to marking International Women’s Day.
A reflection on the annual 8 March observance from a young LWF delegate at the Commission on the Status of Women
I’ve intentionally celebrated International Women’s Day every year since March 2016. It was my junior year of high school and also a presidential election year in the United States. There were two candidates from the major political parties - one man and one woman.
Political affiliation and ideology aside, hearing friends, family and public figures that I admire demonize the first woman candidate for a major political party was damaging. Sentiments like “America isn’t ready for a woman president,” “Women are too emotional to lead” or similar, communicated that, for half of the world’s population, policy stances and experience often matter less than the body and brain you were born into.
Anxiety and balm
I saw these conversations happening primarily on social media platforms. Like many American teenagers, I learned from unfettered access to the Internet that the world was not what I thought it was. I spent most of the 2016 election cycle feeling anxious about what my destiny, and the future of my peers in my community and beyond, would hold.
I also learned about Women’s History Month. Finally, some balm for the scrapes acquired on this journey of learning more about the historical and current status of women and girls. I spent hours a week reading social media posts and articles, and even more hours listening to podcasts, all about women peacebuilders and change-makers.
I committed to never let this date pass without taking time to remember, to celebrate and to lament.
Kayla Zopfi, ELCA Hunger Advocacy Fellow
On 8 March, International Women’s Day, I committed to never let this date pass without taking time to remember, to celebrate and to lament—for the rest of my life.
This International Women’s Day, my 8th intentional year of celebration, I am a Lutheran World Federation delegate to the 67th UN Commission on the Status of Women. I will be spending the day surrounded by some of the fiercest advocates for gender justice on the entire planet.
This International Women’s Day, I will unleash my inner 16-year-old self and all of her fury, love and curiosity. She will proclaim the truth she already knows - that she is truly fierce, dedicated and in full control of her own destiny.
This is my prayer:
Stir our souls, boundless Creator.
Wherever we are,
Help us live deeply into our responsibility to the stewardship of community rooted in love.
Whoever we are,
Remind us that we are each beloved and created in your image and likeness.
When-ever we are,
Accompany all generations as we pass on traditions of peacebuilding and peace-waging.
On this International Women’s Day,
Be with your people, God who is like a mother hen.
Divinity is our heritage,
Empowerment is our right,
And community is our vehicle.
Because you have created it to be so. Amen.