Little did Irina know that her scribbled words on a bathroom stall, in the 70’s, would set in motion the women’s movement’s that followed. Feminists would identify with her sentiment and echo it. It’s been emblazoned on T-shits and bumper stickers around the world since.
Irina has gone on to a storied career. When I came across the quote, I had to learn more. Over the past forty years, women have made huge in-roads into the “man’s world” of dictating policies.
Irina Patsi Dunn is an Australian writer, social activist and filmmaker, who served in the Australian Senate between 1988 and 1990. Born in Shanghai, Dunn grew up in Australia and studied at the University of Sydney. In 1988 she became a senator representing the Nuclear Disarmament Party.
The bicycle I saved for, at age eleven, was my window on the world. Some of my independence was nurtured here. Looking back at my youth, I was very fortunate to be given the freedoms and trust of my parents. By age 16, I was driving, still with the trust of my folks. Being born a “boomer,” my opportunities came with the times, the 70’s, but it took until the 90’s before I fully realized the shift, as I was approaching mid-life and looking back on where and how life had steered me.
Today, some young women haven’t yet realized the gains we’ve made. That’s why this blog exists, to encourage and promote. In a recent AARP article, they celebrated “women rising” around the globe who are ageless warriors. One is a 67 year old model, a growing number of them who are helping change the perception of what beauty is. Fashion run-way shows today feature men and women of all orientations. Refreshing!
In areas of India, “Grandmothers School” are teaching women to read and write which helps give them dignity and pride in signing their own names for the first time and when given their new voting cards. It is also helping their communities rise up out of poverty as leading examples of determination.
All over Africa, women are finding ways to get educated and therefore changing the culture towards equality, via the financial world, politics, science, environment, and education. One such woman is Jennifer Riria of Nairobi, Kenya. A couple of decades ago finding female entrepreneurs on the Continent would have been difficult, to say the least. Jennifer, herself, was born into poverty but found a way to get herself through school and in 1991 joined a micro-finance group. Not only did she stabilize it, she became CEO, re-branded it to Echo Network Africa and transformed the lives of more than 3 million women, awarding over $1.3 billion in small-business loans, most for less than $600.
She believed in the women she’s served. If this doesn’t give us hope, tell me what does.