Happy International Women’s Day 2018!! A big shout out to all the women of the world – this is not only a time to celebrate, but a time to reflect where we are and how much there is left to do.

I don’t need to go into quite how much work is still required. Women’s voices are rising and being heard like never before and will continue to do so until there is a greater equality all round.

This year’s theme is #PressforProgress – something that Francis McDormand reflected brilliantly in her Oscar speech by finishing with two words: “Rider Inclusion”. Something that will actually make a difference to women in the film world by attaching legal obligations to inclusivity. It’s time to stop talking and start acting – not just in the film industry but in all walks of life.

We have come so far. I am just as full of hope for my daughter and the next generation of women as I am for the future of my two son’s. In the West, she has just as many opportunities if she wants them and they all have the world at their feet. They are free, educated, can choose any career path they want, can choose who they want to marry…or not, can have children…or not, can travel and dress how they like.

So the wider issue is to be concerned with women in developing countries and how they are coping. We need to support all the women of the world in ensuring that education and freedom is equal to all and it is our job surely to ensure that no one gets left behind.

Sunrise in Bali

Sunrise in Bali

So like the sunrise photo I’ve chosen, Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” is perfect for the occasion and a powerful reminder of how important it is to maintain one’s strength in the face of adversity. She is referring to racism as well as gender, but it is a rallying call to both and so wherever you are and whatever difficulties you face this is reminder that dignity and determination in the face of oppression can be overcome:-

Still I Rise
BY MAYA ANGELOU

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

GO GIRLS!! (I wrote that bit, not her)…

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