Friday, March 8, 2013

International Women's Day

"Happy Women's Day!" was the greeting from many of my male students today at school. At first it caught me quite off guard. In fact, although I said the obligatory "thank you"  to the first greeting, it took me several moments to sort out just what he had just other words, today felt like any other Friday..excitement about the end of the week and dread at a certain 2 class periods that I had to face....and nothing special.

To be quite honest, it wasn't until I moved to Turkey last year that I even became aware of a holiday for women or appreciated the significance of this day in a country where many women still don't enjoy the same freedoms that I do.

And, it wasn't until yesterday around 5:00 p.m. when my property manager called me to invite me to a neighborhood celebration for International Women's Day including give-a-ways for things like manicures and pedicures that I even remembered that March 8th is THE day.

Unfortunately, today's significance still didn't sink in until about the 15th male student yelled out a "Happy Women's Day" greeting. Finally, I stopped to ponder the reason for this day. After a walk from the high school building to the middle school building, I finally came to the conclusion that International Women's Day is a day to give thanks.

Therefore, I'm thankful for the many men and women around the world who have fought for basic human rights for women. It's easy to take their efforts for granted because:

- I had the freedom to choose who I married.
- I have a husband who supports me, respects my ideas, and encourages me to be the best I can be.
- I have a partnership and friendship in my marriage.
- I have the freedom to go where I want, when I want, and by bicycle if I want.
- I have the opportunity to read, watch movies, listen to music, and travel.
- I can choose the clothes I want to wear.
- I have the support to encourage my children to be confident and to pursue their dreams.

And, while I realize there are many women who do not have these rights, hopefully days like today will encourage the myriad young men and women of this generation to work towards assuring that all women have the basic human rights.

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