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One's Own Woman

The introduction of The Second Sex by Simon de Beauvoir written by Judith Thurman ends suggesting to read the book in the spirit it was written:

“As a deep and urgent personal meditation on a true hope that, as she will probably discover, is still elusive for many of us: to become, in every sense, one`s own woman.”

I am blessed to have met many women on their journeys to be their own women to inspire, to transform, to create, to nourish, to educate, to mother, to labor, to sacrifice, to befriend and to love and they have become the heroines of my life story as we collectively make each other succeed and thrive.

Drawdown edited by Paul Hawken is recognized as the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming. The seventy scientists from 22 countries (out of which %40 are women) have gathered lists of climate solutions, devised detailed climate and financial models for each solution and have ranked them in the order of their potential to reduce emissions. Out of the 80 proposed solutions Educating Girls and is the number 6. Across the low-income countries, there is a strong link between women and the natural systems at the heart community and family life. Today, 130 million girls are denied the right to attend school and according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, by closing an annual gap of 30 billion usd, universal education in low and lower middle-income countries could be achieved. It could result in 59,6 gigatons of emissions reduced by 2050. (The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported that the total high-end carbon emission reduction required to limit global warming to 1,5 Celsius is 1,000 gigatons, effectively forcing humanity to undo 20 years of global greenhouse gas emissions.)

Back in 2009 I was a part of a project in the province of Akkar in Beirut, Wadi Al Jamus run by a local NGO initiated by the village women in their effort to make/sell clothing produced at the workshop and to use the revenue to finance girls literacy program. This was a social mission program and it demanded to be on the field, rolling up the sleeves, to be in touch with may realities I did not know. The individual strength of the women and their collective effort built on hope, resilience, curiosity, willingness to thrive and share enables over 100 girls to go back to school. The ladies spoke openly and firmly and were not afraid of life or anyone and they were determined to make their mission work. The project covered in supplying the workshop with sewing machines, training the women to make denim, finding the right match so that the clothes that they would manufacture could be sold at fair-trade to earn the funds. In the numerous trips to Wadi Al Jamus, I made friends, broke bread at the family meals, laughed together and as we mutually invoked the heroines in each other. Almost 8 years passed since I have last been to Akkar and before each time I was asked to present the project I would focus on the social mission impact which remains to be of influence but recently I have also realized that it was the women who have empowered me to expand myself.

I have a profound trust in humanity, an energetic hereditary optimism. My prime heroine is relentless not only because she sneaked my granddad`s car at the age of 18 to drive 500km in the 1950s, or would nest on the top of trees making crafts, or fly kites on the roofs of her home-town, or was always an entrepreneur, and started yoga when she was 60, but because she is still full of vitality, passion to share the experience and the beauties she has accumulated at the age of 82. Four years-ago hearing on the news that a school in a rural town needs clothing for children she has not only made 200 pants and knitted 200 colorful sweaters but also flew into the village to hand deliver them. Her recent endeavor is making toys out of old socks for orphan kids and she already has 600 ready to deliver and guess what she has also designed a workshop to teach other women to recycle the socks into toys.

Becoming one`s own woman is a life-long journey and the strength of women in the modern times has been defined by the double shift, the housework , the mental burden that is associated with all the complexity. Seventy years ago, in The Second Sex; Simone de Beauvoir argued that the fiscal work and earning a living is not an insurance to freedom or happiness and caring for and being cared for by others is a central part of what makes us human and thrive. I would like to thank all the amazing strong women in my life who have inspired me, added on to my story and have cared for beyond themselves.



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