This year Women’s History Month is honoring women who are trailblazers in labor and business.
Those chosen are women who have worked hard to improve women’s lives in the workplace and who have fought for equality and fairness for women in poverty and under-served workers.
For example, women in poverty-stricken countries have no one advocating for them. Women and girls walk long distances to supply daily water for their families, or to work a plot of land exchange for food.
The Care Foundation has a campaign in March to raise money for women and girls living in impoverished countries who need to walk 4-5 miles a day to get water, to find food, to attend school. The campaign challenges people to walk that distance daily for a week and raise money for the campaign.
I love to walk. I don’t need gear, gadgets or Google maps to do it. I don’t need to walk to get water or food for the day. I can walk out my door, put one foot in front of the other while working up a mild sweat, take in the views and let my thoughts roam. Such a walk leaves me endorphin-infused, with increased circulation, and a heart and mind at ease. Walking benefits me. I realized I could let my walking benefit others at the same time.
Women have often walked for causes. I remember how Granny D walked across the country for peace in the year 2000 when she was 90 years old. In 1896, Helga Estby and her daughter, desperate to save their home and land from repossession, left the family in the care of her disabled husband and walked from Spokane, Washington to New York for a promised monetary reward they never received. You can read more in Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt.
These women proved women can serve a cause while walking. They were trailblazers for other women to take up a cause.
I put two and two together and decided to join the campaign to celebrate my upcoming March (way past 60) birthday, my health and good fortune. I invited my friends to a week-long walking party. I donated what it costs to throw a party, asked people to contribute birthday gifts as donations to the fund and come enjoy themselves, while networking, visiting, making new friends and experiencing the pleasurable outcome of daily exercise.
We formed a walking team and raised money for the event. It took little effort to set up a personal donation page online and send out a few emails. The fundraising took off in no time.
The walking party was a life enhancing experience. I enjoyed seeing faces light up when making new connections while sharing ideas. Every day, we walked and talked; we walked away feeling good at zero cost. Every day, we experienced a bit of what other women and girls must do to survive. Every day, we felt grateful that we could contribute and were healthy and fortunate enough to take part in this campaign.
Our walking raised enough money for a community garden, money for a water spigot in a village, money for shoes for the girls to walk to school. Our walking strengthened friendships and self-confidence. The walking party started with an idea on a walk and grew into something meaningful and beneficial for others. We made women’s history.
Have you ever combined a passion you have with a cause that benefits others? What ideas do you have for bringing women together for a good cause? Are there other ways you celebrate Women’s History Month? Please join the conversation.