It’s March 8th today

Today, the world over celebrates International Women’s Day.  Women and men are taking up the “Be Bold For Change” mantle, rallying for a more gender inclusive world.  Great stuff!


During the week there was a question posed on a Women’s Discussion Group that I am a member of, whether there was any point to an International Women’s Day any more? Is it overkill in this day and age?  Well, let me tall ya, did that question ever get a barrage of impassioned responses!!

If you are living in the western world, you are fortunate to have it better than most then in other parts of the world.  Women in the west just don’t face the same degree of challenges as many women do in developing countries. Right?

Well.  Unless you live in the USA where women’s rights, fought for by our parents generation decades ago, are again under threat.  The fight is back on incredibly, under this new administration.

Or if you are one of the forgotten young Aboriginal women of Canada who have disappeared along Highway 16, a sparsely populated section of highway in northern British Colombia now referred to as the Highway of Tears.

Or if you happen to be the mother of one of the ~800 baby remains found last Friday, on the grounds of a Home for Unmarried Mothers run by Bons Secours Nuns in Tuam, Co Galway, Ireland up to the late 1990s.

Just a few of the high profile stories I am aware of, there are so many more stories about women being maligned.  Such a long way to go yet.

Take this story in Nepal.  There’s this absurd fight to have children recognized as Nepali if they were born in Nepal.  What, you ask?  How can that be??

Well, if the children’s Nepali mother is raising them without their Nepali father’s support, or their father is a foreigner …. currently the children are not afforded Nepali citizenship.  That makes them stateless.  It’s daft, isn’t it?

A great article appeared in this week’s Nepali Times about this exact subject. It’s timely given it’s International Women’s Day.

The article is written by a mother who shares the story of her stateless daughters, obstructed from living the lives they dream of.  All because Nepali citizenship cannot be passed down to them through their Nepali mother.  I shake my head – is the Nepali Government living in the dark ages??

Maybe.  It’s come to this as a result of petty squabbling between political groups, who are muddying the water for their own benefit, and who have a blatant disregard and disrespect for women.  Shameful.

Some might still think International Women’s Day is overkill.  Not in my book, it ain’t.  There’s still a long way to go.

Today in recognition of International Women’s Day, I’ll be wearing red and celebrating with my colleagues (male and female!) here in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

I’ll be thankful for all the magnificent women who I am fortunate to have in my life.

I’ll be thankful that as a women, I have been able to do all I wanted to do in life for the most part.

I’ll be thankful I can share some of my life’s learnings and street smarts with young women around the world, who want to be able to say this very thing when they are my age.

And I’ll lend my solidarity to all those women worldwide who need the strength of other women in the fight for their rights, and the rights of their daughters.

#Be Bold For Change

About Kate Coffey

After 30 or so years in the investment management industry, 2013 saw me turn my life up-side-down, making my way first to Nepal, then Bangladesh during that first ‘year away’. The year took me on a journey I did not expect, had me fall in love with Nepal and its people, and become inspired at the work of Spinal Injury Rehabilitation Centre (SIRC) located in Bhainsepati - 2 hours east of Kathmandu in the Saanga foothills. Since 2014, I have returned to SIRC numerous times, working closely with the folks there in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes. In the past two years, my work in Nepal has expanded to the Bo M. Karlsson Foundation and the Spinal Cord Injured Network Nepal. In Bangladesh I marvelled at the strength and resilience of marginalized women who have the courage and audacity to break the rules and make a better life for themselves and their children through microfinance programs with BRAC. 2016-2017 saw me embark on a totally new experience in Sri Lanka, a place I never would have chosen to end up in. It’s the 40C+ heat, big humidity and tropical snakes & animals that scared me! But I ended up love love loving! my time there, working with predominantly Tamil small business owners in remote villages in the north and east of the country, trying their best to recover their businesses and the lives of their employees, after decades of a civil war. My time in Sri Lanka made me realize my hard-earned business skills and experience can really be put to good use! The work the BIZ+ team and I did there ended up earning me International Volunteer of the Year Award in December 2017, presented on Capitol Hill, Washington DC no less. I am currently home on Bowen Island, in the west coast of Canada, shoring up my finances before I head off to who knows where, for my next expert volunteer assignment. This blog initially started out as a travelogue of sorts to keep friends and family worldwide updated while I was off on my travels in 2013-2014. Since then it has morphed into a life story of the many places I have lived and worked and of the wonderful people I have met along the way. I hope you enjoy.
This entry was posted in Canada, Ireland, Nepal and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to It’s March 8th today

  1. Becky Dawson says:

    Endorsed! Well said and thank you Kate. The wee world has a way to go step by step, year by year. #Be Bold for Change, equality in all human rights and freedoms.

  2. Clarry says:

    well said! Of course, there is an International Men’s Day. Although people don’t seem to care about it unless it’s International Women’s Day… 😉

  3. Pingback: Nepali citizenship …. finally | Bowen to Bangladesh

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