Mawenzi House Authors on International Women’s Day March 8, 2019 – Posted in: Blog, Women – Tags: C Fong Hsiung, IWD2019, Kagiso Lesego Molope, Sheniz Janmohamed, Tehmina Khan, women writers
I believe that for change to occur, particularly for BIWOC writers, our voices must be amplified in ways that are meaningful and sustainable. We need to be allies, and we need allies so we can begin the messy work of breaking down systemic barriers through an intersectional lens.
While it has been encouraging to see a shift in narratives, with more of our voices coming to the fore, we also need to examine the powers in place– the ones who decide whose voices are valued, and whose aren’t.
When I think of women, I think of immense strength, which is interesting because we have always been portrayed as the weaker sex. Just recently, after a reading, a gentleman in the audience asked me why God made women weaker? I told him to go ask God. But this man obviously has never spent any real time with women.
Think of all the centuries, us women have spent getting beaten down, but we always get up, and not only do we get up and dust ourselves off, we lift others up with us, as well.
It is the women in my life who have always inspired me. My mother, my grandmothers, my sister, my cousins, my teachers, my friends, and now, my daughter, who inspires me every single day.
In the words of Sarah Grimke, “I ask no favors for my sex. I surrender not our claim to equality. All I ask of our brethren is, that they will take their feet from off our necks.”
–Tehmina Khan, author of Things She Could Never Have.
Let’s recognize and respect that women are different from men. Therefore we can and should participate anytime, anyplace on our own terms without trying to meet standards set by men.
As all women wrestle with the difficult and frightening allegations of sexual assault that we’ve been dealing with in the past months, I hope on this day we remember to honour our own humanity and the humanity of those who have somehow found the courage to stand up for their own truth. I hope we hold space both for them and for ourselves, with both unwavering strength and a deep tenderness.