Our busy lives, our much-loved comforts, seem to invite amnesia or indifference or denial about the fact that women everywhere are in the fight of their lives, as we always have been.
The biggest battles – for control of our bodies and freedom from sexual violence – are a long way from won. And so we come to the impact of a network to advance women’s power.
I often ponder the transformations occurring among the members of Baraka Women’s Center. When I speak with them or read their stories, their rising hope is palpable. They’ve found a place with the tools that make shiny possibilities come within their grasp.
The guidance offered in the Entrepreneur and Leadership Program is one of the most significant contributions, helping women find their core of self-worth – lost or never found in the fray of surviving extreme poverty.
Reminding a woman that she has intrinsic value is a subtle and continuous process. Little things add up: a warm welcome to a place where women gather, a clear message that ‘you belong’, and spontaneous connections with other women working to reshape their lives.
That’s what a Women’s Center does best.
Women’s Centers International now is supporting eight Women’s Centers: six in African, one in the Middle East, and one in California USA. We ‘call in’ those with not far to fall: women excluded from society’s wealth, women who grew up in poverty or were downed by a twist of violence, who subsist on starchy foods, wear second-hand clothes, and love their kids so much they have to scramble too damn hard to keep them fed and clothed and educated. That’s where the revolution rises on cat’s feet.
There’s nothing noble in brutal alchemy of poverty. There is, however, great power in poverty-honed instincts for survival. Those who possess them belong in the ’situation room’ as women resuscitate and reshape a kinder world. Yeah, we get clean up duty. But we’re the ones with the best and fiercest instinct to make life better.