| Posted: Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 06:00 am
Two shocking incidents happened in 2012 that stunned the world into realizing there is still a great deal of work to do in achieving women’s equality.
In Pakistan the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai, 15, for advocating girls’ education and basic human rights. And in India, 23-year-old Jyoti Singh, a physiotherapy student was gang-raped on a bus and dumped on a road. This last atrocity incensed the country and inspired a wave of activism.
The United Nations International Women’s Day will be celebrated globally on Friday, March 8 and the St. Albert Baha’i community is taking part by celebrating the contributions and achievements of local women.
“I see this on three fronts,” says Baha’i organizer Elaine Tahririha.
“It puts a light on things that happen to women and girls – denial of education, oppression, lack of safety, lack of freedom of choice – things we take for granted. Two, it highlights the progress that has been made. And three, it expresses our appreciation for contributions women make.”
The Baha’i committee is asking people to submit nominations of women who enrich the community and demonstrate a spirit of generosity, courage, creativity and enthusiasm.
Nominators may want to consider a variety of categories – arts, business, community service, science, education, health, literacy, peace, youth and aboriginal initiatives.
“We are looking for women who influence those around us,” Tahririha said.
On a global level, Tahririha admires women such as spiritual leader Mother Teresa, author/abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe and civil rights activists Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks.
“Not every important woman gets written up in history. Hardly anybody does,” Tahririha said. “But there are heroes such as people from the old world who established our country, but they’re not in the history books. They are in our DNA.”
As an example she cites her mother, Jenny Deleff, a feisty Ukrainian woman.
“Every once in a while we would have a family staying with us. She was providing a safe house for women and children while they were trying to figure out how to get away from an abusive relationship,” Tahririha said. “I didn’t even know about it until later. She was heroic and she made a difference.”
Residents of St. Albert and Sturgeon County are eligible. The award ceremony is on Saturday, March 9.
“Most of our past nominees are extremely humble. They don’t think they do anything special. But something like this gives them energy to carry on. And it’s so inspirational,” Tahririha said.
Nominations close on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Forms are available at www.stalbertbahai.org. They can be emailed to email@example.com, faxed to 780-460-8408 or mailed to Box 87, St. Albert, T8N 1N2.