To all the Ladies in my Life 

I am blessed to know an incredible group of women around the world – from Canada and the US to Uganda, Korea, and Europe. I don’t take this community of women for granted. These women inspire me with their intelligence, their courage, their insight, and their general bad-assery.

These women fight injustice, discrimination, and harassment every day. They choose to laugh, to drink,and to dance. In turn I am inspired to do the same. I simultaneously hate that we need a day to honour women and love it because I can reflect on the power of so many women before me and who are in my life now. I hate International Women’s day because women make up 50% of the worlds population and we are just people living our lives – if you saw us as equal we wouldn’t need an exceptional token day to call out our place in the world. And yet I love that day because I am who I am because of the strong, independent, sassy women who’ve gone before me – women like my mom, my aunt Florence, and my best friends. 

On women’s day I’m lucky and burdened to work in Mali. I am lucky because I see the strength women have despite the blatan inequality experienced here. The power of doing you despite the majority rule saying you are not allowed to exist in the full essence of who you are.The power it takes to manage a family in poverty and fundamentally care more for their well-being than their own. Yet I’m burdened because I see the systemic problems of women’s voices being silenced through violence, disrespect and exclusion. Decisions that affect women’s lives are being made without ever bringing a woman to the table or genuinely listening to the thoughts and opinions of women themselves. 

So on international women’s day I have mixed feelings all around. But until we don’t need a token day of appreciation, let me give a shout out to all the ladies who’ve made me who I am, blessed me by sharing their lives, and continue to be the royal queens they are. 

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