Les gens qui ne rient jamais ne sont pas des gens sérieux

Be who you are and say what you mean, those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind

Thursday, March 08, 2007

International Women's Day

I walked briskly towards the tram stop, swerving to avoid the old ladies with shopping bags on wheels, and whistling young men going about their business.

As I waited for the lights to change, I noticed the makeshift stalls that had been set up on each corner, with their bunches of bright yellow tulips and single red roses tied up with ribbons. There was a small crowd of men by each stand, comparing prices, weighing up how much they were willing to spend on flowers for her, today.

At work, as I waited for translations, I skimmed the news. I read about women in Iran being detained for peaceful protests, I looked at pictures of a young Kenyan single mother and her fight to live life the way she wanted, I read the report of a policeman who has been relieved of his duties while an investigation into video of him repeatedly punching a woman is carried out.

I thought of the women I've met as part of my refugee project and their strength they've shown in the face of such odds. I thought of the women I know and admire, my friends, my mum and especially my Gran.

Then I went back to work. I edited a story about Polish business women, which was written by someone who seemed surprised that Polish women should be known for more than their 'outstanding beauty'. I tried to cut and correct a review of a corporate event where showgirls had 'added sex appeal' to the evening and a Miss Poland runner up had handed out prizes. I tried not to gag.

On the tram ride back, I pushed my way through groups of girls clutching flowers. A man got off a stop before mine and wished his female companion a happy women's day as he left. I walked back to my flat, past the men in suits, buying up the last of the tulips.

Women's day is about more than flowers and well wishing. Isn't it?

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