THE theme for International Women’s Day to be celebrated on Wednesday 8 March is for women to #BeBoldForChange – and, through contributions to the anthology, My Walk to Equality, nearly 50 Papua New Guinean women writers proved they already had taken this idea to heart.
And as the Oil Search Foundation, Allen’s Legal, Paga Hill Development Company, the Sir Brian Bell Foundation and other PNG organisations rally to the cause of this highly praised book, it’s clear that the call is understood and is gaining momentum.
My Walk to Equality will be launched in Port Moresby on International Women’s Day (IWD) and in Brisbane eight days later. The Moresby launch – by invitation only – will feature Dame Carol Kidu and Tanya Zeriga-Alone, two fighters for women’s rights in PNG. Rashmii Amoah Bell will be the star attraction in Brisbane. I will be at both events.
IWD global organisers see International Women's Day as a vehicle for change to help forge a better, more gender inclusive world.
And change is urgently needed. The World Economic Forum predicts that at the present rate the gender gap won't close until 2186 - 170 years. “This is too long to wait,” say IWD organisers in what strikes me as classic understatement.
Last year, organisations and individuals around the world supported the #PledgeForParity campaign which committed to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, challenge bias, advocate gender-balanced leadership, value women and men's contributions equally and create inclusive cultures.
“But what if the world truly stepped up to take bold action?” the global organisers ask now.
“Will you #BeBoldForChange on International Women's Day 2017 and beyond by taking ground-breaking action that truly drives the greatest change for women?
“Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.”
This was precisely Rashmii Amoah Bell’s intent and message as she initiated a unique project to get PNG women to write about gender issues in a positive and constructive way and to have the book ready for International Women’s Day 2017.
It has happened and it is a great achievement, recognised and supported by all those organisations in PNG which do not breathe “gender equality” as a cliché but which show they will enact it.
You can support the women of PNG in their boldness for change by buying a copy – or more – of My Walk to Equality.
You still need to buy it from Amazon Books here as it is not available for sale in PNG. Time for some of those big retailers to step up and be bold and stock it in their outlets.