A Reflection of My Life after living in Uganda as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

International Women's Day

March 8th is International Women's Day and in many countries around the world it is a national holiday. Uganda marks this day as a national holiday. They say the men do the cooking on International Women's Day but I have yet to see this happen. I think the women work just as hard the only difference is that everyone says, "Happy Women's Day!"

International Women's Day was first celebrated in 1911 to honor the work of the suffragettes. It has continued to be celebrated to celebrate the successes of women around the world and also to bring light to the inequalities that still exist and need to be addressed. Gender still remains one of the biggest divides in our world today. While half the population of the world is female, they account for much less than half of the world's power and wealth.

I had the honor to attend an International Women's Day event put on by a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mbarara District. Natalie works at a secondary school for girls. She organized to have fellow volunteers come and lead Life Skills lessons on Role Models, Self-Esteem, Menstruation and other life skills. The girls attended sessions in the morning then had a special lunch that included meat. Meat is expensive and only eaten on special occasions so the girls were very excited. After lunch everyone met in a large group and a program followed that included a poetry reading, a fashion show, the choir performing and a speech from the Head Teacher.

I was especially pleased to see my friend Faith there leading the fashion show. Faith was one of my Ugandan counselors at Camp GLOW. The fashion show featured different outfits women wear: traditional, business, every-day and creative wear (made out of banana leaves). Faith talked to the girls about being confident in what they wear and the successes they will have in the future. I am proud of the work she continues to do with the girls of Uganda.

Girls singing about women embracing their roles
Girl playing the drum
Faith speaking to the girls

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