Today is International Women’s Day — a day when we intentionally celebrate all things women. This year’s theme is choose to challenge, because when you do, change happens. Whether you’re a man, woman or nonbinary, this call to action is for you and it will take all of us together to make significant change.
There’s not a country in the world that has achieved gender equality. Women and girls continue to be undervalued. They work more, earn less and have fewer choices, and many experience multiple forms of violence at home and in public spaces. Furthermore, we’re starting to see a rollback of some hard-won feminist wins. However, let’s not go too far down that rabbit hole, because small challenges can make big differences. For example, try challenging binary words. It’s humankind not mankind, and insisting on the change will transform beliefs and patterns of discrimination. Another challenge – pay to watch movies directed by women. The more money a “woman’s” movie makes, the more opportunity there will be for other women to make movies. And how about challenging what we call little girls, like princesses or bossy? You can change the trajectory of a girl’s life if you call her bold and brilliant, and teach her self worth from the moment she’s conceived.
Do you have a few ideas bubbling up about how you want to choose to challenge harmful norms that limit girls and women from living their best lives? To move you to action, we offer a playlist of women from around the world choosing to challenge by how they sing, what they sing about, and who they sing for. Grab their vibe and let it inspire action.
Two of Newfoundland and Labrador’s powerful all-women’s musical groups; Lady Cove Women’s Choir and Eastern Owl sing about finding their voice to challenge what harms them.
Echo – 5 Female Mongolian Throat Singers
Throat-singing is almost exclusively practiced by men. These women challenge the taboo against women throat-singers, based on the belief that such singing causes infertility.
Mother – Ulali
This group of three Cherokee women are the first Indigenous women’s group to create their own sound from their strong traditional roots and personal contemporary styles.
Xiaojuan – Tan Weiwei 小娟 譚維維
Xiaojuan (Jane Doe) is the name given to female victims of violent crimes in China. Tan Weiwei challenges the dismissal of these women by insisting they be recognized as real women with names.
Courageous – MaMuse
MaMuse express gratitude for their ancestors who have challenged the status quo — “I’m inspired to be courageous, they tread the path to show us how and we walk in their footsteps of those that walked before us.”
O Sai Maa
In honor of H.H. Sai Maa, a Divine Mother and enlightened Master who challenges all of us to see the limitations of our beliefs and take passionate action to change the things that do not serve us or humanity.