March 8 is celebrated globally as International Women’s Day (IWD). Originally organized by the Socialist Party of America
, the celebrations first took place in February 1909 and were called International Working Women’s Day. Big Drum Nation is commemorating the occasion by posting women’s reflections on the struggle for equality.
Every year the celebrations embrace a special theme reflecting the urgency of the moment. This year, proceeding from the World Economic Forum’s prediction
that the gender gap is unlikely to close entirely until 2186, the theme addresses this unacceptable state of gender inequity as a human rights urgency. Big Drum Nation joins IWD in the campaign to #BeBoldForChange following up on last year’s Pledge for Parity Campaign. It is a quest for women and girls to achieve their ambitions, challenge conscious and unconscious gender bias, push for gender balanced leadership, value women’s equality, encourage inclusive flexible cultures, and for more gender inclusiveness.
We asked Jamaican-born poet and writer Keisha-Gaye Anderson what International Women’s Day means to her. Here’s her response:
“It is important that this day is earmarked to call attention to women’s issues worldwide. We are witnessing a very important shift in the movement for women’s equality, with the recent women’s marches all over the globe and organized efforts to push against legislation that would further marginalize women or dictate what they should/should not do with their bodies. Never before have we seen such broad awareness and acceptance of the notion that women’s rights are human rights. And given our interconnectedness via media and the internet, I see this movement only growing. In a sense, I liken this to humanity balancing itself to ensure it has a future on this planet. Under patriarchy, women everywhere have suffered so much, for so long, that injustices are calling out to be redressed. Genius is eager to be unleashed. Different ways of organizing society are ready to come to the fore. Human beings as a species cannot thrive while forcefully suppressing more than half of its population. In facing the necessary challenge of bringing about equality for women, may we all reach a higher, healing level of awareness with which to view our world, and each other.”
Keisha-Gaye Anderson is a Jamaican-born poet and creative writer living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the author of the poetry collection Gathering the Waters (Jamii Publishing, December 2014), which was accepted into the Poets House Library. Her writing has been published in a number of national literary journals, literary magazines and anthologies, including Writing the Caribbean, Renaissance Noire, The Killens Review of Arts and Letters, Mosaic Literary Magazine, African Voices Magazine, Streetnotes: Cross Cultural Poetics, Caribbean in Transit Arts Journal, The Mom Egg Review and others. She is a past participant of the VONA Voices and Callaloo Creative Writing workshops, and was named a fellow by the North Country Institute for Writers of Color. Keisha has also been short listed for the Small Axe Literary Competition. She is a founding poet with Poets for Ayiti. Proceeds from their 2010 chapbook, For the Crowns of Your Heads, helped to rebuild Bibliotheque du Soleil, a library razed during the earthquake in Haiti. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The City College, CUNY and regularly leads writing workshops on CUNY campuses. Learn more about Keisha at www.keishagaye.com or at facebook.com/keishagayeanderson. Follow her on Twitter @KeishaGaye1 and Instragram @keishagayeanderson.
You can listen to some of her poems on Soundcloud