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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.


ck's picture


Hi, Mary D,

I really like the compassion that runs throughout your piece, and the story of your awakening from caring about local sorrows to global ones. And how inspiring to think that describing your journey will help change the world. Thanks!


limab's picture

I understand..

Hi Mary D,

I am one of your listeners for this week and I would just like to say, I completely understand where you are coming from. I have often felt the same way in relation to knowing I cared deeply about a situation or cause but not knowing how to go about doing more for it. I am very glad your personal journey brought you here and I look forward to the change you will bring to the world.

One of Many's picture

opening to sisterhood

Hi, Mary:

Thanks for your thoughtful explanation of how you found world pulse and how engagement with it has kindled an inspiration in you. It sounds like through your college education, you became aware that the world is far different than you had ever believed, which was the first spark of your passion.

One thing confuses me: do you mean “turn up the volume”?

It’s great that through WP you can change your status of being “an only child”...through sisterhood.

Please know that the delay in hearing from me (a listener) was from an unexpected medical need on my part – nothing to do with you. Thank you for your story,


Speaking my Peace

Mary D's picture

Anna, Whoops, I did mean turn


Whoops, I did mean turn UP the volume. Thank you for noticing. I have updated the article with the correction. Thank you for your encouragement!

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