Passion and Compassion: An Awakening to Sisterhood
My feeling of sisterhood within the global community of women began at a young age. Perhaps it was because I am an only child, and that can be very lonely when one is comparatively new and ignorant to life. I have always gravitated toward girls who are suffering, even if it is only in a small way: the divorce of a parent or poverty. When compared to abuse and outright oppression, these things do not seem grave, but to me who grew up in a comfortable loving household, they seemed tragic. I have a large capacity for love and a strong desire to help those in need. Before I could see the larger picture of the world around me, I invested all of this love into giving a voice to my downtrodden friends. I was ignorant of my fellow women who were never given the least bit of consideration.
Looking back on my childhood, I can see how much I was wondering in the dark. No one opened my eyes to the continuing plight of women. Gradually, I became aware of the atrocities that women were suffering globally through the news and my education. Having heard about female genital mutilation, I took and anthropology class to learn more, hoping that I could find a way to help. All the while my eyes were opening. We read Dancing Skeletons by Katharine Dettwyler. I was enraged. I could not discuss it in class without shouting and crying. When I calmed down, I realized that anger was not a productive reaction. We cannot change the way that the world views women, or women view themselves, with accusations and hostility. Anger will not change minds, I realized, understanding will.
I am still educating myself on the challenges that women face globally. I found World Pulse through reading Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn. I was so grateful to find a source that showed me what I could do right now. While education is a very powerful tool, I think it is time for me to use it to act. World Pulse gave me the first step by connecting to women in the midst of the very crises I have studied, and many that I have not. The simple act of speaking your mind, something I used to take for granted, is an opportunity that this website has opened up for women who previously had no forum. I feel a growing sense of friendship for the women who I have never met, but who unknowingly inspire me. When I first joined this online community, I wrote a journal entry expressing my frustration at not knowing where to start to make changes in this world. A woman named Dando commented, “You are already changing the world and not trying.” I understood the power of raising my voice. Like the goal of World Pulse, I want to turn up the volume on all of these voices. I offer my pen, my hands, my whole being as instruments of change.