Give women the salute they deserve

Editorial

WE write this editorial as a woman who is a daughter, a sister, a mother and a wife.
We are surrounded in this newsroom by amazing women. We believe you too are surrounded by phenomenal women.
Today, March 8, is a day you reflect on the women around you to celebrate their accomplishments and contributions. Pause for a second and think about it.
It is International Women’s Day. It’s a great day to start.
As women around the world celebrate the difficulties and success of women, we in Papua New Guinea should mirror the same.
The advancement of women is one of the achievements usually highlighted.
Let’s reflect on progress made to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
Commend them. Acknowledge them. Reassure them to pursue their passion and to prosper.
Work towards equality, and as you celebrate women, support them, and encourage them to succeed.
So, while the world celebrates International Women’s Day, women in many rural areas in the country are probably wondering what all the fuss is about.
For all the tributes and self-congratulatory speeches and remarks made during this time, let us reflect on how much more our women in rural areas can endure when faced with the lack of development that forces them to move to the cities and towns to get some of the benefits every citizen of this country has a right to – regardless of what town, village, valley or island they come from?
Everyone has a part to play – all the time, everywhere.
For Papua New Guinea, while many of us celebrate the success of gender equality in the workforce, the question we should be asking is if this benefit filters down to our communities at grassroots level.
Our women suffer some horrendous deaths, whether it be at the hands of violent husbands or during childbirth.
The struggles they face in rural areas is beyond measure. What they endure to put food on the table goes unrecognised.
For most of our women, there is no gender equality and they continue to face discrimination everywhere. The stark reality is that women are a vulnerable group.
Violence against women is a crime and yet it is a universal global phenomenon.
According to UN Women, six out of every 10 women in the world experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Just like the lyrics to the Mary J. Blige song, Strength of a Woman, which say, “We’re the trees left standing through the storms of life. We’ve come so high and we’ve come so far. Can’t hold us back. Strength of a woman”.
Women are the backbone of the family and the foundation of the nation.
They bring life into the world. They sense the cries of an infant. Their instincts are to care for the old, the sick and those in need.
The women’s rights movement may seem stalled in a flood of resistance, but there is a rising tide and sincere hope that today’s little girls will pick up and continue to fight when they develop into women of tomorrow.
Let’s support #BalanceforBetter, the campaign movement for this year’s International Women’s Day.

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