International Women’s Day 2010: celebrate the women in your life

// 8 March 2010

IWD symbol, purple venus sign enclosing a fistInternational Women’s Day is a fantastic opportunity to draw attention to women’s continued fight for liberation across the world. Harpymarx has written a comprehensive post detailing many of the reasons why this struggle continues, from the gender pay gap to the female face of poverty, the 78,000 women who die globally each year as a result of restricted abortion access to the violence and neglect experienced by refugee and asylum seeking women. However, it’s also a day to celebrate women, to put women centre stage and highlight all the wonderful things women do that so often go unnoticed and unappreciated.

With that in mind, I’d like to tell you about one of the wonderful women in my life: my sister, Louise (on the left).

I used to think it was hard being Louise’s sister. As an angsty, awkward, Gothy teen, I was jealous of her popularity, her beauty and her ability to stand up for herself and her right to be happy and independent. She always knew what was best for her, and she made sure she got it. I think a lot of women could do with a dose of Louise’s self belief; I certainly needed it.

Photo of Laura and Louise. Louise is white, has multi-coloured braided hair and a lip piercing.When I left home, our relationship changed. We no longer took each other for granted. We became friends, and my teenage jealousy turned to admiration and respect. Louise’s energy, exuberance and ability to put a smile on the face of every person in the room is a delight to behold. Her steadfast refusal to let fear of what other people think affect her behaviour or life choices, combined with a genuine desire to spread happiness and positivity, has been a real inspiration. It’s helped me get over my teenage insecurities and become the person I am today.

Whether it’s in the work she does on a daily basis, as a home help and child carer for two women with chronic illnesses, chatting away at a family gathering, taking stunning photos of the Sussex countryside, wowing the dance floor with mind-bogglingly bizarre moves, whipping up a veggie storm in the kitchen, or trouncing me at Monopoly (yeah right!), Louise injects everything with passion and verve. Her relationship with her boyfriend, Paulie, is a model of respect, love, friendship and fun that can only grow richer as the years go by, and I know they will make damn fine parents when the time comes.

It’s a real privilege to be her sister and to know she’s only a phone call away whenever I want to talk or need someone to sing an obscure 80s children’s song to. Love ya sisbean!

I’d love to hear about the wonderful women in your life; please share in comments!

Comments From You

HarpyMarx // Posted 8 March 2010 at 4:08 pm

Thanks for the link, Laura. And happy international women’s day!!

I was on PCS picket lines today and there were many women fighting the injustices of what the government intends to do regarding the civil service compensation scheme, in other words getting rid of workers on the cheap and women inevitably suffer the consequences of cuts and recession.

Feminist Avatar // Posted 8 March 2010 at 5:29 pm

This might be slightly unconventional, but as a historian many of the ‘women in my life’ are now dead, yet they continue to inspire me. For Women’s History Month (March), I and other historians have been highlighting these women at:

Joana Andrade // Posted 8 March 2010 at 5:31 pm

My daughter Rita is going to be 2 in the end of the month. She’s fearless, curious, strong willed and incredibly affectionate. Sometimes when I think of giving up on my postgraduate studies and career in scientific research thinking of Rita gives me the strength to persevere, I want her to grow up knowing that she can be whatever she wants to be.

Joana Andrade // Posted 8 March 2010 at 5:34 pm

BTW, great posts, Laura and HarpyMarx.

Lynne Miles // Posted 8 March 2010 at 6:31 pm

This post is so lovely, Laura! Your sis sounds very lucky to have you too.

Mobot // Posted 8 March 2010 at 7:20 pm

I want to celebrate my Gran today… she has experienced being, effectively, a refugee and being adopted, lost her parents, has lived through war and poverty, supported a bipolar husband and a disabled daughter, lost her daughter and son in law, brought up her granddaughter while working full time as a social worker in her 60s and continues to support me and her many friends at the age of 80. She is caring, resilient and motivated to continue to make a difference in the world at an age where many people are unable to do so. She is amazing.

Mary // Posted 8 March 2010 at 9:43 pm

I’m lucky enough to have a Professor of Politics for a mother – at one time one of only a handful of professors at her university. An inspiration to me and my sisters – not to mention many generations of students.

Charlotte Revely // Posted 8 March 2010 at 10:42 pm

Lovely post Laura, we should celebrate sisters more often. My sister Cynthia is the rock in my life, we’ve been through so much together but can always laugh about anything and talk for hours about nothing and everything, I love my brothers too but its different. I really don’t know what I would do without her.

And HarpyMarx I was on strike today too – the TUs are not exactly feminist bastions but at least there is still a movement which looks after women at work – keep fighting!

Jessica // Posted 9 March 2010 at 8:46 am

My mother is brilliant. Throughout my childhood she and my father acted in such a sensible, equal way. It didn’t even occur to me to think that men and women should behave in different ways until I was in my late teens. (Gender roles? What gender roles?) I hope I can do the same for my future children.

Alex T // Posted 9 March 2010 at 8:50 pm

I love my sisters too! And I miss them both so much. I’m the eldest and live in London. Middle sister lives in the US and youngest has severe learning disabilities and lives in Wales. They’re both fun and great and stroppy and I don’t get the chance to see either of them much at all these days. :(

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