It’s overwhelming, really, the parade of numbers that rain down on you like a hurricane in this excellent Judi Dench-Daniel Craig video. Numbers like 70 million (the number of women denied education) and 60 million (the number of reported sexual assaults) and 1 percent (the total amount of property owned by women).
When I think about all these numbers, I feel very small standing next to them. Here it is, International Women’s Day 2011, and all these unfairnesses and injustices are still happening. And I want to write about it here, I want to say something that is meaningful and that will knock those numbers over and send them tumbling down. But next to them, I am just me. Like I said, I feel very small.
So instead I think about what someone small would do when faced with a very big machine. Maybe you couldn’t climb to the top, and maybe you couldn’t blow it up. Maybe you couldn’t lift it and throw it away in the garbage. But you could take out your tools and loosen one of the screws at the bottom, where the footrests are. And then maybe you could take the foot rest off, so it wobbles a little. Maybe you could unscrew one piece, or file away at one stubborn bolt, every day. Maybe it wouldn’t be enough to bring the whole machine down overnight.
But then again, maybe it would.
As part of my daily unscrewing, I’m making a pledge to keep abreast of initiatives like this one (the fight to keep federal funding for Planned Parenthood, an amazing organization that gives women affordable access to birth control, cancer and STD screenings, and lots of other health services every day!) What will you do?
Happy International Women’s Day to all the mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, cousins, godmothers, grandmothers and girlfriends!