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08 March 2011

Happy International Women's Day!

Greetings to all the women I have had the pleasure of meeting and knowing!

I want to wish all of you special people Happy International Women's Day! So many women have had such a profound impact on my life, rounding off my rougher edges and creating a more complete human being, the human being that I am now. I am extremely grateful for the feminine touches I have had in my life. I am also gladdened by the wider understanding and appreciation of women that is happening across the globe. I am currently reading an incredible book, Half the Sky, by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, which brings to our awareness the many crimes committed against women across the planet. The chapters in the book address different problems in different regions to inform the reader, and then each one finishes with a positive experience of change: a means for the reader to participate and change the world. To lift up and empower women across the planet.

I also recently read an article in National Geographic about women in the "untouchable" caste in India who are at the bottom of the bottom of the social ladder. They are not allowed to wear shoes, to pump their own water, or to own more than one article of clothing. The article highlighted Jamkhed, a program working to educate women in the untouchable caste to be health care workers in the poorest villages throughout India, improving their own lives and also vastly improving the quality of life of the people in their townships. They have drastically reduced infant mortality, spread of disease, and increased water quality. And now these previously outcast women are becoming respected members of their community.

These changes are inspiring, and the stories even more so.

"Women hold up half the sky." - Mao Zedong, former leader of China

So I want to thank you all and encourage you to continue to affect those around you and make changes in your everyday lives. The power for change lies in our hands.