Women – when strengthened can do so much. There are miracles I see in my mother’s life and my own and in the global world of women that bear testament to this.
When my mother was a child, she was the caretaker of the pigs. She had to feed them and fatten them up for the village and then let go. But she was destined to leave her village in Papua New Guinea for a very different future life journey, first to go to a mission school, and then to do nursing, and finally to move to Australia with her Australian husband and here have many occupations and three children. I didn’t grow up to be a caretaker of the pigs.
This is an historical miracle, in the sense that my dear parents chose not to see colour, background, experience as limiting their love for each other. They were brought together by his desire to travel and understand the world (his father was an Esperantist) and her family’s desire to see their daughter educated. They met and then had me in Papua New Guinea and my brothers in Australia. She traveled away from, family, village, country for love and went through homesickness that only now I begin to understand.
One sad thing is that my mother has never learnt to drive. They didn’t have a car when she grew up, or a culture of going for a licence. She tried a few times when she first came to Australia, but never quite made it. So the next miracle was that finally her daughter, me, with the help of the Farmer’s Wife went for a licence. I thought of my Bubu (grandmother) in her village and my Mum and I was determined to learn to drive and break new ground for my daughter.
My Mum was so proud of me! More proud of me than anything I had ever done, I think.
What does driving for a woman today mean? The same things it means for a man? Independence to go where and when you need to, more job opportunities, the ability to go for certain jobs, a way to assist one’s family when they are in trouble.
To be a migrant woman without a licence was so hard for my Mum. I think compassionately of women coming to Australia without them and of women still in need of their freedom of transport. Nevertheless I am still very proud of my Mum, who has raised goods much needed by hospitals and sent countless things home to villages and family. She has never forgotten the place that raised her.
Now for global women miracles. Women across the world are doing similar things. They are taking their place in governing their countries and in ‘non-traditional’ work places.
In places torn apart by war and famine their role has become integral in the recovery, healing and economic viability of their nations. I am particularly impressed by the women of the Sudan.
After a twenty two year conflict, which severely impacted everyone, but especially women, the United Nations reports that great improvements have been made through strengthening the opportunities and education for women.
Women gained the right to vote in 1964. They now have 25% representation in all sectors, part of a peace agreement and over 90% of women in rural areas are in the workforce.
I find it interesting that when there is massive killing in a country, and women make up the majority of the population they must be strengthened for the society to function well. It is something that everyone can see and of course it has happened in places other than the Sudan.
What a miracle it must seem after so many years to see women have opportunity, input and not be subject to the vulnerabilities that wars bring.
What’s your miracle for women’s equality? Have you seen one in everyday life, or on the news recently?
By June Perkins