Happy International Women’s Day!
The official theme for last year’s International Women’s Day was ‘Each for Equal’. This year’s theme is ‘Choose to Challenge’.
“We can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions, improve situations and celebrate women’s achievements” (internationalwomensday.com)
To broaden perceptions and to celebrate women’s achievements, we need to tell more stories.
These stories need to be accurate, respectful and well told, helping us understand and honour women from all different backgrounds.
We need to make sure the stories in our society are not just of people of one ethnicity, social class or other background.
Migration gives us unique opportunities to tell more stories as we learn from those we meet as we move to new places, or those who have joined our communities. We can share inspirational stories of people from our own cultures, or our own stories.
When I lived in Poland, I learnt a lot about Polish culture from my students and friends. On International Women’s Day, it’s a good opportunity to celebrate inspirational women from different cultures.
Marie Curie (Maria Skłodowska), was born in Poland in 1867 and went on to develop pioneering work about radioactivity which helps with medical treatment for illnesses such as cancer. She loved learning and wanted to discover more. I find this quote of hers really inspiring:
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less”
An idea for this coming week in your Early Years settings and schools, in light of International Women’s Day…
Can you gather inspirational stories of women from all the countries represented in your setting?
These could be famous women from different cultures, or personal stories that famileis might have.
Children could interview their mum, aunt, Grandma and other female carers and friends. Family and friends could be invited in to settings to share their stories alongside photographs or other memorabilia.
As more stories are told, accurately and respectfully, understanding increases in society. Schools and early years settings are a great place to do this.