Did you know that the two highest IQ scores in recorded history belong to women?
The month of March is known for celebrating women all around the world, their achievements and what they mean to us. Being a woman myself, I cannot stress how much this part of my identity influences my daily life and is something that I celebrate in my everyday life. In honor of the many women who influence my identity and also devote their lives to making the world a better place, I have decided to devote this post to them through an analysis of the different ways they are celebrated around the globe.
“Although I am a third year political science student, it was here on my exchange at San Diego State University that I had, for the first time, women as political science professors.”
Women in Africa
On the continent of Africa, the place that women have in societies still fascinates me to this day. Coming from a really traditional background, I have seen the different ways women are celebrated and respected specially in my culture. In Senegal, being a woman, a mother or even a grandmother gives you a very important place in the hierarchy of the society. Indeed, women, especially older women are respected because they are considered as being the guardians of the society, the mothers of the nation, fighters for peace, educators and also guardians of the cultural heritage of the country. This respect for women is not only found in Senegal but also in the majority of the countries of a continent that remembers and recognizes the achievements of its women.
Did you know that the Dahomey Amazons, an all-female military regiment, fought against the French colonizers in what is now modern Benin? They are represented in the new movie Black Panther, in which they are depicted as an all-female military group that protects the King. Although from a different country and background, portraits of these women are represented on female-owned businesses around Senegal.
Aline Sitoe Diatta is also a Senegalese heroine who is remembered by communities for her resistance to French colonial rule and her tax resistance movement during World War II. To this day, she is a symbol of resistance and liberty and is celebrated through the many cultural events in Senegal. During these events, young children dress as her, tell her story and those of the many women who fought for our country.
Here in the United States
Going abroad has been great experience for me, and way to meet many women who I found spectacular and taught me a lot throughout the year. Although I am a third year political science student, it was here on my exchange at San Diego State University that I had, for the first time, women as political science professors. I am very thankful for chance to have them as professors because it changed a lot the way I looked at issues; It made me realize the importance of looking at issues critically but also using a gender perspective and looking at the ways in which women are represented.
In my classes here at SDSU, I learned that women here in the United States fought for more political participation and made the conditions of women better. I learned the famous human right activist Sojourner Truth fought for the abolition of slavery and for women’s rights.
I learned about fight of women which led to the creation of the United Nations convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW). I learned that women in Africa fought for the creation of the African Union Maputo Protocol when they realized that the CEDAW was not implemented in the laws that affected their everyday life. Furthermore, women in Niger fought for the implementation of gender quotas, which ensure them greater political participation recognized by the state, and which is now also a requirement in some countries of Latin America.
Women are furthermore celebrated in our everyday life, on campus through the Women’s Resource Center which I invite everyone to check out.
Women in Canada
In Canada — where I’m attending the University of British Columbia — women such as Jane Constance Cook, fought for First Nations to retain rights of access to land and resources. An advocate for women and children, she was the only woman on the executive of the Allied Indian Tribes of British Columbia in 1922. She is also an example of many women who fought for what they believed in and are today symbols of liberty and freedom.
One interesting fact of the Okanagan Valley in Canada, where I live, is that before every social or political event, songs of indigenous people are played in tribute to them. In those songs, residents of the Okanagan Valley pay respect and tribute to the lands of indigenous people and to the many people who fought for them — they were, in many cases, women.
There are also many resources and women’s centers in many of the cities of Canada, as well as events and museums that celebrate the achievements of women.
How should we be celebrating women?
Women should not just be celebrated during one, month but all throughout the year. One thing I learned in many of my classes is the fact that representation matters, so we should discuss more women’s issues and topics that involve women. We should give a voice to women but also be careful of the ways that they are represented — not only as victims but also has heroes.
On this note, I will conclude my post with some of my favorite female characters in movies/books/comics/anime:
- Annalyse Keating in “How to Get Away With Murder” (TV Series)
- Janie Crawford in “Their Eyes Were Watching God (novel)
- Cersei Lannister in “Games of Thrones” (TV Series)
- Eleven in “Stranger Things” (TV Series)
- Olivia Pope in “Scandal” (TV Series)
- Hermione Granger in “Harry Potter” (novel)
- Touka Kirishima from “Tokyo Ghoul” (anime)
- Motoko Kusanagi from “Ghost in the Shell” (anime)
- Tsunade in “Naruto” (anime)
Radia Mbengue is studying at SDSU on a yearlong exchange from the University of British Columbia in Canada. She is originally from Senegal.
Very proud as a female to read this. We can see your passion in your studies. Women should be celebrated evry day, this article is deep, well written and very meaningful. Thank you!
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