To the editor:
International Women's Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year. It is a focal point in the movement for women's rights. But for some there is still a question: Why is International Women's Day so important?
Here in the U.S., women have made undeniable advances, from American boardrooms and courts of law to universities and sports arenas. Yet disparities remain, especially in poor or rural areas and in communities of color. We are liberated, but not empowered. We are burdened by unequal pay, high risk of domestic violence and sexual assault, outright denial of access to affordable healthcare, and although we make-up 51 percent of the population only 19 percent of Congress is composed of women.
We've seen a great swell in women leaders coming forward with actions that continually bring to the stage the reasons women need to be celebrated. We are the keepers of rhw survival of humanity. Study after study shows that when women do better, their communities see a direct benefit. Therein is the answer as to why celebrating and ultimately sharing "power" on a true equal scale with women is nothing short of enlightened.
Justice, dignity, hope, equality, collaboration, tenacity, appreciation, respect, empathy and forgiveness. These 10 values are why the Elizabeth Freeman Center has adopted IWD as one of its favorite holidays, with its global focus on equality and celebration of women. These values drive the agency's mission. Since 1974 Elizabeth Freeman Center has provided leadership and services to address domestic and sexual violence in Berkshire County, every day, 24 hours a day. International Women's Day puts women back at the center and reminds us of their goodness. It reminds us why the struggle is important and to not lose hope — and why "failure is impossible."
This year our beautiful but strong (much like women) Berkshires weather asserted itself. We had to postpone the March 8 IWD community celebration due to a nor'easter. With April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we're inviting everyone to join us at Flavours of Malaysia with our friends and supporters to celebrate the wondrous achievements of women and come out in support of IWD and the work of Elizabeth Freeman Center. Join us on Thursday, April 12 at 6 p.m. More information and tickets for the evening are at https://www.elizabethfreemancenter.org/events/iwd2018/
The writer is a member of the board of directors for Elizabeth Freeman Center Inc.