One Woman, Strong Women, UN International Women's Day, Violence Against Women Act, Women's History Month

International Women’s Day-Unity through Song

“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

The quote illustrates the theme of International Women’s Day: Time for action, time to end violence against women.

 Yesterday President Obama signed The Violence Against Women Act. The expanded version of the Act is an important milestone in recognizing the rights of women, whomever they are, to be protected and guarded against domestic violence and sexual assault. This human rights violation affects up to seven women out of ten. The stats are higher in some countries.

Part of the UN campaign is to spread a message of solidarity and unity with others, through song and music. Here’s their inspiring song:
One Woman
Titled “One Woman,” the song is sung by 25 international artists who sing about the solidarity that exists among women and how through that solidarity women can overcome the violence that still threatens too many in this world.

One Woman
In Kigali, she wakes up,
She makes a choice,
In Hanoi, Natal, Ramallah.
In Tangier, she takes a breath,
Lifts up her voice,
In Lahore, La Paz, Kampala.
Though she’s half a world away
Something in me wants to say …
We are One Woman,
You cry and I hear you.
We are One Woman,
You hurt, and I hurt, too.
We are One Woman,
Your hopes are mine.
We shall shine.
In Juarez she speaks the truth,
She reaches out,
Then teaches others how to.
In Jaipur, she gives her name,
She lives without shame
In Manila, Salta, Embu.
Though we’re different as can be,
We’re connected, she with me
We are One Woman,
Your courage keeps me strong.
We are One Woman,
You sing, I sing along.
We are One Woman,
Your dreams are mine.
And we shall shine.
We shall shine.
And one man, he hears her voice.
And one man, he fights her fight.
Day by day, he lets go the old ways,
One Woman at a time.
Though she’s half a world away,
Something in me wants to say.
We are One Woman,
Your victories lift us all.
We are One Woman,
You rise and I stand tall.
We are One Woman,
Your world is mine
And we shall shine.
Shine, shine, shine.
We shall shine
Shine, shine, shine.
We shall shine.
Shine, shine, shine.
What else can you do? 
Join the conversation and follow @UN_Women and the hashtag #1woman on Twitter. 
You can also donate a tweet through Thunderclap, which will be released on 8 March. Click on the link, scroll to the photo like the orange one above and click. That’s it. You can download the song if you’d like too.
Take an interesting quiz here.  Every point you score counts towards the Say NO action counter. 

Share the song through your social media networks. Share your thoughts.

Denise Oliver Velez, Family, Latinas, Parenting, Strong Women, Wisdom, Women of Color, Women's History Month

How Every Woman Contributes to Women’s History Month

             Each time a girl opens a book and reads a womanless history, she learns she is worth less. – Myra Pollack Sadker

March is Women’s History Month. How we arrived to setting aside this month to highlight women’s contributions in history is a 34 year road. Longer if we consider that International Women’s Day began in 1911 in Europe.

The purpose of Women’s History Month is to increase consciousness and knowledge of women’s history: to take one month of the year to remember the contributions of notable women, in hopes that the day will soon come when it’s impossible to teach or learn history without remembering these contributions. 

Recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life – science, community, government, literature, art, sports, medicine – has a huge impact on the development of self-respect and new opportunities for girls and young women.

Most of us who attended high school and college in the early 80’s until present or have children in school easily recognize some of the most notable achievements that are highlighted during this month.

But how do we, as ‘non-famous’ ordinary everyday men and women fit into women’s history?

In our own lives, we can make women’s histories personal. We have a huge resource in our own families. This month can be a time when we discover the stories about our own mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers. 
In turn we share our discoveries with our children so they can better understand their lives, the challenges they faced, and who they are as a result. We can easily start these conversations (okay, maybe there will be an eye roll or two when we start talking about grandma’s day) with our kids. And which kid doesn’t enjoy asking his/her parent about how life was without PC’s in every home or a cell phone. Recognizing the strength and accomplishments of women in our own families and those from other backgrounds leads to higher self-esteem among girls and greater respect among boys and men.
A multi-cultural perspective is also important to pass onto our children. 
An extensive selection of women in the military, Civil War, Science, and Politics can be found in the National Archives. An interesting article on  Native American women’s contributions in women’s history, written by Denise Oliver Velez, goes beyond Sacajawea. This article on five Latina contributions describes authors, activists, and artists. Huffington Post lists more achievements by Latinas. In the blog “Race Relations,” the entire month is devoted to remembering women of color.
I hope your children have WHM events in their schools. Take a few minutes to talk with them about what they’ve learned about women’s contributions. And sometime this week, sit down and tell them your own stories, your mother’s stories, or her mother’s stories. Let them hear about adversities, their values, and the triumphs of women who are important to them every day not just one month out of the year.