We are back from our travels in India and Jeff is now in China teaching. We have mostly shaken off the dust and sounds of India after an incredible month of connecting with life without our usual creature comforts. I for one was unsure about how I would cope. Would I be able to sleep in a dormitory? What about communal loos and showers with thousands of others? Not to mention sharing an overnight train sleeping compartment, and many other doubts.
But we went for it and in the end it was really simple. Our basic physical needs for food, shelter and sanitation were met and we coped with sleeping on communal floors, a diet of rice and dahl and queuing for cold showers. And in the process of sharing the essentials of life with so many people, life became brighter and somehow richer.
Yesterday was International Women’s Day commemorating the women’s movement worldwide. The slogan this year is Be Bold for Change and indeed there is a long way to go before we close the gender gap; in fact the World Economic Forum pessimistically predicts it won’t close entirely before 2186. In all the complex issues it is easy to point to glaring examples of gender inequality in our workplaces, communities or relationships.
But to me the real courage for change lies in these words:
“I think tapping into one’s power and one’s potential is a very frightening thing.”
Viola Davis, winner of the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, 2017
Gender is only one of many inequalities in our world, one we could find all kinds of explanations for, blaming our history, society or politicians. But as we know our blame hides a simple, deeper truth.
How willing are we to face our fears of the enormity of our power and potential? On the other side of this bold step lie the intelligent actions that will bring lasting change.