Real choices for women
Welcome to the 23rd year of Island Neighbours, a gathering of items about island people, activities, interests and events. To share an item, email email@example.com or phone 947-2440.
Here’s to February’s wonderful successor- March! It blows in on March 1 with the celebration of St. David’s Day, the national day of Wales. David was a missionary monk who founded 12 monasteries, gaining renown as a teacher and preacher.
• Next comes International Women’s Day on March 8. The date is commemorated at the United Nations and is designated in many countries as a national holiday. In the years before 1910, working women were often paid scandalously low wages, worked in wretched and unsafe conditions and had no way to remedy any of that since they had no vote. Over the years, the day became a way to organize protests and political activism, with early efforts led by Germany’s Clara Zetkin and Russia’s Alexandra Kollontai. The new millennium has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women’s and society’s thoughts about women’s equality and emancipation. Many women from a younger generation feel that all the battles have been won while feminists from the 1970s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women’s visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women are still not present in equal numbers in business, .politics and globally women’s education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. Of course, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, girls are welcomed into university, women can work, have a family, and have real choices. Today, a central organizing principle of the work of the United Nations is that no enduring solution to society’s most threatening social, economic and political problems can be found without the full participation, and the full empowerment of the world’s women.
• Just after International Women’s Day comes a totally different celebration: St. Patrick’s Day on March 17! Somehow, on St. Patrick’s Day everyone seems to become Irish. There are festivities everywhere with music, dancing and, often green beer. You’ll celebrate in your own way but meanwhile how about a wee bit of a story? I’ve always enjoyed this version of a popular tale. Here it is: When the blessed Saint Patrick chased the reptiles out of Eire, there was, in the Galtee mountains, one monstrous serpent that looked like being too much for Patrick entirely. So, the Saint took a chain to him and harnessed him under one of Galtee’s seven lakes, the one called Lough Dilveen, saying, “Stay there, ye spalpeen!” “How long for, Pathrick? ‘ asked the serpent. “Til Monday” said the Saint. Every Monday morning from that time to this, the serpent lifts his head out of the Lough and calls in the Erse tongue “It’s a long time till Monday, Pathrick!” But he gets no answer and goes down again. (If you don’t believe me, let you walk by Lough Dilveen any sunrise after Sunday, and you’ll soon see if I’ve told the truth.)
• Ten Years Ago in the Undercurrent of March 7, 2003, an article by councillor Neil Boyd reported on the development of the municipality’s mission statement. He mentioned that the number one priority was the Snug Cove plan, with its attendant issues of traffic management and resolution of the GVRD surplus lands, followed by Crown lands-watershed protection. •A major fire totaled the home that the McWilliams family, Ellen, son Brad and daughter Kim had just moved into the day before. The owners of the house, Peter and Toni King had bought the home in 1981 and raised three kids there. Because the water in that area primarily comes from wells, two fire trucks remained at the scene while two other trucks made at least 25 trips to Tunstall Bay and Cowan’s where they filled up with water, returning to top up the stationary trucks. • The future of Cape Roger Curtis was the lead story of the March 14 issue of the Undercurrent. Reporter Barbara Murray noted that the Cape’s $16 million price tag hadn’t deterred the large international conglomerates who had expressed an interest in the land. At stake was one of the last remaining undisturbed coastal bluff areas of British Columbia.
• The Last Word: the truly Celtic-minded will be planning to enjoy Vancouver’s ninth CelticFest running March 9 to 17. Besides the St. Patrick’s parade, there are 71 ticketed and free events. And, CBC radio afternoon radio host Stephen Quinn will be playing selections from great Irish bands.