By: Christine Samwaroo, Founder of The Breadfruit Collective
With the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic, this year’s International Women’s Month takes on a new meaning of what it means to create a safe world for women and girls. As we entered into the third month of this new year, we have already witnessed too many accounts of violence against women through the kidnapping and murder of women such as Andrea Bharatt, Ashanti Riley in Trinidad and Tobago and most recently Sarah Everard in the United Kingdom. The violence against one woman is an injustice for all women. We are at the crossroads, the way we treat our women is a direct reflection of our relationship to the planet. International Women’s Month is a renewed call to action.
Violence against women must be addressed if we aim to create a sustainable and just future for the planet and all peoples. Women make up the majority of the world’s poor. Women are responsible for agricultural work and food production. As a result of changes due to climate change, there is an increased personal and economic vulnerability to lost harvests, which results in changes in temperature, floods and droughts. Overall, women have lesser access to resources. They are likely to be the last to leave when a natural disaster occurs.
As a result of the intersectionality of issues women and girls face, women must be able to lead and be in decision making positions. As we lift women this month, let's lift those women who are primarily responsible for their families and communities, and understand that when resources become scarce, the burden of this (often unpaid care work increases.)
This International Womens’ Month lets #ChooseToChallenge our country to invest in its women and girls, to do everything to prevent violence in its many forms, to hold politicians, police officers and those in power accountable and to ensure the protection and safety of all citizens. This month is a renewed call for us to speak out against our “culture” that harms and promotes harm to women and girls. International Women’s Month allows us to lift those who are fighting for intersectional and inclusive gender justice and it serves as a reminder for us to think global of our role in caring for and protecting Mother Earth, the one who sustains us and the greatest woman of all time.