International Women's Day: Aspirational Womanhood and the Imperative for Change

Every year, as International Women’s Day approaches, I get a flurry of contrasting emotions. A seemingly infinite barrage of questions flood my mind; like a storm of dignified protesters invigorating my thoughts, demanding resolutions.

It is a day to highlight collective achievements and, frustratingly, to continue defending feminism – often to those who unknowingly possess feminist principles themselves. 

It is a day to celebrate movements and milestones of key figures who have fought for women’s social, economic, cultural and political rights before us, as well as reflect on the courageous women in our own lives.

This International Women’s Day I will be thinking of the women who have taught me that it’s not just OK to push boundaries – it’s imperative.

The women who unapologetically contribute at a table that is only ever occupied by men – who always demand equality and commit to being part of something bigger than themselves.

The women who can roar as loud as they can exhale gently.

Who love fiercely, vulnerably and fully.

And the women who claim their space while helping others to find theirs and, if need be, will go down swinging.

These are the women I aspire to.

This International Women’s Day, I will be shouting out to the women who The People’s Fabric work with in West Borneo and across Indonesia.

The women who weave their stories into the fabric of society for generations to come; who stand strong and walk steadfastly towards their goals, all the while raising their potential high in the sky with both hands.

The women who say “yes” to financial independence, to supporting each other and their community, but say “no” to the destructive palm oil industry.

Throughout the year, The People’s Fabric will be introducing some of these women and sharing their incredible stories. On this International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8 March, these are the women who will be occupying my mind.

Which courageous women in your life deserve space in your mind?

Ali