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March is Women’s History Month
Celebrating women everywhere, but especially remembering our sisters in Ukraine, Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Afghanistan. Women in Ukraine are fighting alongside the men against the invading Russian army. Women in Turkey and Syria are putting their lives back together after a devasting series of earthquakes and aftershocks. Women and girls in Afghanistan live under terrible oppression at the hands of men. And, I want to recognize the brave women of Iran facing imprisonment and death for daring to defy the men controlling their lives. I especially applaud the brave Iranian engineer who removed her hijab under the portrait of a mullah at a conference this week. Good on you, sister!
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I have been reading a lot of works by Native American authors and storytellers. One of my discoveries on this journey has been recognizing how differently women are portrayed and viewed in Indigenous cultures. This is especially the case with how women are viewed and valued with regard to men. In many Indigenous cultures, women in origin stories are gardeners who teach others how to take care of the plants, animals, and land around them. These women are fully formed individuals in their own right and are equal to men. There is no concept of ‘original sin’ and no concept of women being inferior to men. In many traditional Indigenous cultures, there was less emphasis on assigned gender roles and more emphasis on using one’s skills and gifts for the benefit of all.
Did you know in traditional Cherokee culture women were the land guardians and owned the family’s property, not the men? Property was passed from mother to daughter, not father to son. Generally, men made political decisions for the larger tribe while women made social decisions within the smaller, more closely related clans. However, both men and women were equally likely to share in storytelling, music, and practicing medicine.
What do you know? Gender equality, especially in origin stories. We have a lot to learn from other cultures if we’re willing to listen.