Sunday, 16 September 2012

Celebrating womanhood

Celebrating Womanhood

Happy Celebrating Womanhood day!

Thinking what to write on the theme of ‘womanhood’, my mind flickered to strong or inspirational women through the ages, and the first names that came to mind were these: Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, Boudica, Queen Elizabeth I, Jane Austen, Marie Curie, Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragettes, Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale, Aung San Suu Kyi, Tawakel Karman, Maya Angelou, Harper Lee, Virginia Woolf and Margaret Atwood.

There are so many amazing women who could join this list. In particular, I admire the Suffragettes for their painful fight to bring us equality (British women over 30 could vote in 1918 and gained equal standing in 1928/American women won the vote in 1920), Aung San Suu Kyi for her endless fight for justice and freedom, Marie Curie for her discoveries and for being the first woman to win the Nobel Prize (twice), and Margaret Atwood for her powerful books about the female condition, particularly The Handmaiden’s Tale.

Women played a huge role in both World Wars, entering the military forces and engineering, performing unpaid work at home, and taking up roles that had traditionally been reserved for men. However, today we still do not have equality around the world and some women do not have the human rights that should be everyone’s birthright.

Looking at The Women’s Economic Opportunity Index (2010), we still have a way to go. Women, on average, earn 75% of their male co-workers’ wages. In some developing countries, women cannot vote, own property or walk outside the home without a male family member. An estimated 16% of the world’s adult population lack basic literacy skills and about two-thirds of these are women. In adulthood, women more often than men face the triple burden of work, household chores and child/family care responsibilities. In many societies mothers face a stigma if they leave their children to go to work. In eight countries, women do not have property ownership rights ­- Cameroon, Chad, Chile, Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Togo and Zambia. A few governments even have laws that stop women leaving their homes or country without the permission of a male relative or guardian (this restricts a woman’s ability to get a passport). These countries include Oman, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

So, although not every woman has equality yet, I’d like to think that one day we will get there. We have many positive and powerful role models that the younger generation can look up to. Yay to women! :)

Below are a handful of poems that I wrote in the past with a woman at the centre.

Some day

Some distant day she’ll
Return when she sees beauty
In a rainbow sing

Hey little girl

Hey little girl
Where are you going?
Before you fade
Into the dark
Wander into the yellow light
Flick your hair
Jump into the sea
Running leap of sheer faith
Cut the surf at a run
Feel its cascade
Into the depths of the sea
Keep the spark
Stay shining
In the heat of the sun
Summer daze
Trivial gaze
Lazy haze
Stay awhile and turn your head
Keep smiling
Before it fades
With the waves
Trickling into the shapes
Of feet in the sand


She sits and dreams of making rain
In the dark, shadows dancing mimic
Colours of the aghast
Sights and sounds and murmurs
Still breathing
Watching over the edge
Of everything
The glass splinters into a million shapes
Cast in a myriad of lights
Bright and sparkling, dancing
In the spring sun
And she dreams of making rain
That tears and crashes
Washing away the shards of glass
Splattering the colours rent
With droplets of ice-cold nothing
Cuts and caresses
Shards of grass peeking through
Clouds gathering


She makes music
In the silence
Feels it shine
In the still
Wakes the muse
In the night
Wanders free
The pseudonym


She lives among the dragons, stars and unicorns
The fairytale world born in her wildest dreams
Of childhood wandering on the darkest nights
Beneath the chill of the star speckled moon

In the dark the dragons shine their fiery red
In the light the unicorn bows it silvery head

She dreams the dreams she yearns to live
Ascending the high, jagged mountain reaches
Descending the bleakest, deepest chasms
She rides the unicorn, outpacing green forests

Dead set distancing the thickset woods, screams
The day, the light, the shake of morning dew
Lifted on breezes the silent wails of the dreamer
Spinning on tiptoes across the surface of a lake

Never crack the mirrors in this lingering escape
Take the dreamer in one hand, bend to fate
Where she dances in a stream of starlit skies
Never wandering from the bending, stony path

In the dark the dragons shine their fiery red
In the light the unicorn bows it silvery head

Darkest eyes penetrate the watching innocence
Of the dreamer floating through the skies
Never falling, always flying, asleep, suspended
Travelling in this mystic world so shimmering


  1. Just popping in via the blog hop :)

    Lovely poems honey!

    Here's to total equality in the future, for our daughters and grand-daughters :)


    1. Thank you! Cheers to equality! Have a cool eve! :)

  2. Hi Vickie!

    I love that you mention Mother Teresa as she was one of my role models as well. I really think that there is something intangible that is gained from how women have played our cards throughout the centuries. Yes, we have taken the lower path much of the time but we have stood proud during those times and realized things much greater because of this. I think that these things are being recognized and valued, slowly but surely. Take, for example, the focus right now on our planetary health. This is a feminine value and it is gaining in force and recognition. People are understanding the value of the feminine and it is wonderful to see.

    I loved your post. I think that our power is very subtle, but the more we can understand it, the better!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Amy. Mother Teresa is up there for me because she did so much to help the poor and won the Nobel Peace Prize, and never wanted anything for herself. Equality has got to come for all women, I hope. Have a cool Sunday evening! :)

  3. I loved your post, but I'm still stuck on the unicorn. I like unicorns. :-) Thanks for participating!

    1. I love unicorns too. If only they existed! In the poem, the unicorn represents magic, the unreal and pure freedom.
      Thanks for reading :)

  4. Great post Vickie and loved the poems as well.

    The women in history you mentioned are all remarkable individuals. That they could shine so brightly in what was for a long time a man's world is nothing short of incredible.

    I am delighted we are steering towards equality of the sexes but do agree there is a lot more work to be done. Why it's taken so long is very sad and tragic.

    1. Thanks David. There's such a big list - those were the first who came to mind. All on different paths and from backgrounds. Indeedy, I hope so too. Here's to change :)

  5. Amazing post. It is a real shame about women only earning 75% of the wages of male counterparts. Are we only 75% as valid as them? I do believe things will change. We just need to keep strong and keep working together instead of fighting one another.

    As always, beautiful poetry!

    1. I know! It's sobering reading the stats. The part that scared me was the number of countries where women's actual movement is restricted. I knew of a few countries, but not that many. The Olympic committee had to 'pressure' some countries to enter female athletes. This is an interesting article about the two women who represented Saudi Arabia for the first time. Of course, they had to walk behind the male athletes in the opening ceremony, but they were also heavily criticised in their country.

      Thanks about the poetry :)

  6. I recently moved to the UK and I've lucked on some documentaries on TV about the Women's Land Army. British women have a long and proud history. I enjoyed reading your post. :3

    1. Thank you! I should read up on that. I imagine it's really interesting :)


Thanks for commenting - have a kitty cool day! :)