Today is International Women’s Day 2012. The theme this year is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.” At times it is a bit irritating to think that we need a “women’s day” (like we need a black history or women’s history month). An inclusive awareness of everyone’s abilities and contributions should really be evident every day. Still, Happy International Women’s Day.
I especially like the theme that focuses on connecting with young girls to make a better tomorrow. I know from my years of teaching that it is the personal touch that makes the difference in helping students succeed, that being a mentor can help others realize their options and potentials. David Bornstein’s New York Times column yesterday titled “Africa’s Girl Power” praised an organization called Camfed and its success in bringing about positive change across Africa by encouraging and funding not just educational opportunities for girls but also by funding ideas, hope and creativity—and the success stories tell how the communities are rising to the challenge and are bringing about marvelous changes.
Perhaps that is the wonder and promise of International Women’s Day. We can each take action to encourage ideas, hope, growth, change, one person at a time. If we all accept that challenge, just think what a wondrous world we can help create. As Margaret Mead says, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” And we can be part of that group. We can provoke that change.
My favorite aunt recently gave me a book that I love: Great Quotes from Great Women. Below are some of these quotes to honor the day and—perhaps—to encourage you into making a connection for a better tomorrow.
“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”
“I do the very best I can to look upon life with optimism and hope and looking forward to a better day.”
“I would like to be known as a person who is concerned about freedom and equality and justice and prosperity for all people.”
“Ideas are a dime a dozen. People who implement them are priceless.”
Mary Kay Ash
“We should all do something to right the wrongs we see and not just complain about them.”
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.”
“We can go no great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
“Let no one come to you without leaving better and happier.”
“You cannot hope to build a better world without improving the individuals. To that end, each of us must work for his own improvement, and at the same time share a general responsibility for all humanity, our particular duty being to aid those to whom we think we can be most useful.”
“Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people—your family, friends, and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way.”
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
“At present, our country needs women’s idealism and determination, perhaps more in politics than anywhere else.”
“Service is the rent you pay for room on this earth.”
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.”
“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”
HOW ARE YOU CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY? WHAT CONNECTIONS DO YOU MAKE TO HELP MAKE A BETTER TOMORROW?