Originally published March 8, 2011
Today, International Women’s Day means many different things to people in countries around the world. One of my favorite traditions is recognizing the women in our everyday lives by giving flowers to one’s mothers, wives, daughters, much like our Mother’s Day custom in the U.S. Another custom is to celebrate the achievements of extraordinary women.
Over the years, Feminists for Life has recognized a number of Remarkable Pro-Life Women,® such as the President of the Republic of Ireland, Mary McAleese, who wrote the powerful preface of Swimming Against the Tide, a collection of essays from FFL members in England, Ireland, and the U.S. “The myth that to be a feminist is to be pro-choice has forced many women to resign from the name of feminism, to settle back bruised into the silence of the margins.”
This week, I invite you to read about another Remarkable Pro-Life Woman, the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan, whose presence on the international stage is sorely missed after she was assassinated a few years ago:
[T]oday the cries of the girl child reach out to us. This [Fourth World Conference on Women] needs to chart a course that can create a climate where the girl child is as welcomed and valued as a boy child…. We must shape a world free from exploitation and maltreatment of women, a world in which women have opportunities to rise to the highest levels in politics, business, diplomacy and other spheres of life; where there are no battered women; where honor and dignity are protected in war and conflict; where we have economic freedom and independence; where we are equal partners in peace and development.
Of course, what distinguishes FFL from many other groups is that — like Bhutto and McAleese — we reject the idea that our advancement comes at the expense of our unborn children.
In fact, one way FFL measures the true status of women is by evaluating support for pregnant women, birthmothers, and mothers in the home, school, workplace, and our society in general.
So when we communicate with leaders, administrators, and employers, we consistently advocate a supportive school or working environment so that no woman feels forced to choose.
Let today, International Women’s Day, be a day you renew your commitment to Feminists for Life’s mission and ongoing work.
And maybe today we should surprise a woman who has made a difference in our lives — perhaps by giving us life — with a flower, a note, or just a kind word she didn’t expect, but richly deserved.
Keep the revolution alive. March forth!
Because women deserve better,
Serrin M. Foster