A great day for all women! Woo Hoo!

michelle-obama-official-portraitMichelle Obama makes me happy! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy hearing and seeing her in the news. She’s strong, smart, self-assured, and refreshingly real. That pretty much says it all.

March is Women’s History Month and today was a exceptional day. Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton presented the 2009 awards for the International Women of Courage.

women-of-courage

Each of these amazing women has a courageous and inspiring story, but Hadizatou Mani‘s (pictured far right above) I found especially powerful.

iwoc_niger_137_1In 1996, when she was 12, she was sold for $500. “I was negotiated over like a goat,” said Mani. Her mother was a slave, so she was a slave, it was a simple as that. Can you imagine? This was just a little over ten years ago! Niger just criminalized slavery in 2003, but as we all know sometimes the law lags behind when it comes to law enforcement.

Ms. Mani was determined to somehow break the cycle so that her daughter would not have to experience the same world  she did. She knew she needed to be strong, smart, and self-assured in order to succeed. She worked with Anti-Slavery International and various other NGO‘s and won her case on October 27, 2008. Her enslavement was finally condemned. You can read her full story along with the bios of the other award winners at the U.S. Department of State website.

Michelle Obama and Hadizatou Mani were born under very different circumstances, but they were in the same room today as equals. Two women supporting each other and working to advance not just women’s rights, but human rights for all.  I am inspired by both of these strong women. I agree with Secretary Clinton when she said,

“The status of women and girls is a key indicator of whether or not progress is possible in a society.”

In addition, President Obama signed an executive order this afternoon creating a White House Interagency Council on Women and Girls.  The purpose “to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy”.  In the order it further states,

“These issues do not concern just women. When jobs do not offer family leave, that affects men who wish to help care for their families. When women earn less than men for the same work, that affects families who have to work harder to make ends meet. When our daughters do not have the same educational and career opportunities as our sons, that affects entire communities, our economy, and our future as a Nation.”

So, Happy Women’s History Month everybody! This truly was a great day for all women!

Read more at Huffington Post:
Michelle Obama And Hillary Clinton Present International Women Of Courage Awards (VIDEO) (PHOTOS)

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2 Responses to A great day for all women! Woo Hoo!

  1. lisa knaggs 2009/03/12 at 10:10 AM #

    Hooray for women, courage, strength, vision, and togetherness is right!
    Michelle Obama and her daughters are bringing a renewed focus on the future, at the same time they are an energized and vibrant presence now!
    Ten Thousand Villages has sponsored a whole week celebrating International Women’s Day and outstanding Austin women- check it out: http://austin.tenthousandvillages.com/php/stores.festivals/store.events.php

  2. Sue Rostvold 2009/03/12 at 10:26 AM #

    Cool Lisa. Thanks for the reminder about Ten Thousand Villages. That is awesome! This country was truly starved for hope, but thankfully, it looks like this new administration has a healthy and sustainable vision for the future that includes everyone.

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