Today’s Vision for Tomorrow’s Mission. A poem by Hillol Ray

Hillol Ray 2nd Photo

Women Empowerment:

Today’s Vision for Tomorrow’s Mission

In a globalized world, gender equality
And empowerment of women are tools
To achieve sustainable development of societies,
As admitted even by fools!
Still, the violence towards women is an epidemic
Against which no country is immune.
And today, we face more challenges to peace
Due to poverty, hunger, and disease.

In the arena of politics, the poor are excluded
From governance, irrespective of gender.
And women are victims of other people’s decisions
Because they are assumed to be tender!
Yet development strategies will fail
Unless women become central players
They must be included in peacemaking,
Despite the objections of naysayers

Women suffer disproportionately from the fallout
Of the armed conflicts we’re seeing
While rape, forced pregnancies, and sexual slavery
Persist and endanger their wellbeing
Determined efforts must be made
To prevent abuse and violations
And lawmakers must be enabled
To punish violence and predations

Civilized minds can’t but hover over
All the ways basic standards of dignity
And humanity have been trampled over
To oppress women’s rights and equality
I too have spent many a night
Thinking without cessation
Trying to solve the plight
Of women in developing nations

Men need education on the rights of women
To keep them safe from violence or abuse.
They must recognize women’s place in every sphere,
Without blowing their “mental fuse”!
Remember, violence against women is not a
“Women’s issue” alone. It affects us all.
The grounds for tolerance of such acts, the edifice
Of laws granting impunity must fall!

I am assured that no peace strategy is likely to be
Durable in the absence of women’s voices.
Men must hear the perspectives
Of women before making hard choices.
We should capitalize on the impetus
That women and girls can bring.
To resolve conflicts and make peace
Let’s make women the king!

Studies show that globalization may contribute
To making the issue of women’s rights better known.
Yet the negative impacts of new tech continue
And on reports they are neatly shown.
Criminal networks still traffic women
For sexual exploitation and cheap labor.
Around the world dirty money flows
To the detriment of young women and girls.

Democracy, to my mind, will succeed
Only if there’s true representation for all.
And women in all communities must be allowed
To voice their opinions, large or small.
Tunnel vision about women’s roles
And abilities has to change.
If we want to build a better future.
Heed my call: Be an agent of change!

To reduce gender inequality, women have to be made
Part of politics more than ever before,
And encouraged to “sink or swim”
Until they reach the executive shore.
Yet statistics reveal that politics remain
A bastion of male dominance today.
Even in countries where women are active,
In fields like business, they have little sway.

Women of developed nations have to raise
The consciousness of the world now
And serve as engines of progress for women
Of developing nations with an indelible vow!
A shift in outlooks and attitudes
Towards women is needed this hour
To eliminate violence, honour
Their basic rights, and empower.

Let’s focus today on creating societies
Built on the strength of women, young and old,
And honour their role in establishing peace and security
Rather than as commodities to be traded or sold.
Let us endeavour to make real these goals
To clear all obstacles and collectively say,
Erect bridges and ladders instead of walls,
Tomorrow’s mission must start today.

Friends, the fight has just begun for
Gender equality and women’s might.
To promote security, trust, and contentment
Let’s all get on women’s side.
Today I offer my unstinting support for creating
A culture of peace and laws we won’t doubt,
Ones that help us harness the power of women
And the wisdom and fortitude we can’t do without.

The original version of this poem was recited at the Federal Women’s Equality
Day Celebration Workshop (held on August 26, 2006), in the Dallas
Infomart Auditorium, and at the Third International Women’s Peace
Conference, July 13, 2007 (at the Adams Mark Hotel, in Downtown
Dallas, Texas, USA).

 

Hillol Ray is a Poet Laureate, Author, and Song Writer. By profession, Ray is an Environmental Engineer and Manager of the Drinking Water Supply Enforcement Program with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Dallas, Texas. 

Born and raised in a suburb of Calcutta, India, he has been writing poetry since the age of six, in his native language Bengali. His poems are regularly published in Bengali magazines from Asia, Europe, Canada, Sweden, and North America and are currently being translated into English, Swedish, Spanish, German and French languages.

For further information, please visit https://bwesner.wixsite.com/hillolrayawards

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Published by darcie friesen hossack

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Ontario Library Association's Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. Citing irreverence, the book was banned by the LaCrete Public Library in Northern Alberta. Having mentored with Giller finalists Sandra Birdsell (The Russlander) and Gail Anderson Dargatz (Spawning Grounds, The Cure for Death by Lightening), Darcie is now completing her first novel where, for a family with a Seventh-day Adventist father and a Mennonite mother, the End Times are just around the corner. Darcie is also a four time judge of the Whistler Independent Book Awards, and a career food writer. She lives in Northern Alberta, Canada, with her husband, international award-winning chef, Dean Hossack.

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