New Year, New Effort


Many years ago I read an essay about women in Vietnam working to rebuild connections and communities after the Americans pulled out. Someone criticized their efforts, saying they were as useless as water. But the women responded that water is a great force: just look what it can to do stone over time. I may not have the quote perfectly cited, but it captures the idea that has stuck with me all these year. I believe in the power of every woman. Even what looks like the smallest gesture is connected to other gestures and actions, and has the capacity to make great change.

We need some great change here at the start of a new year and new decade. Late last year, the World Health Organization reported that HIV is the leading cause of death in women aged 15-44. One of the primary routes of infection is unsafe intercourse. Microbicide research has taken another hit, so a prevention tool that women could use is still beyond science and well beyond widespread distribution worldwide. Unfortunately, challenges to women are widespread, worldwide and kept up daily. As blogger Melissa McEwan says, we live in a culture that perpetuates sexual violence and the myth that women are at fault for it. This attitude is available everywhere – just look around. And seeing that many people still don’t know about safer sex, our work is cut out for us.

I can see some of the challenges, but not all. But I’m not disheartened, because I also see people who are making a difference every day. How did I find out about Melissa McEwan’s blog? Through an email forwarded to me by women (thanks Dalya, thanks Melissa). Even a simple keystroke to send a message on can help shift things.

Happy New Beginnings. Happy change.


– Janet

 This blog represents the ideas of individual writers, and does not necessarily reflect any formal stance taken by Positive Women’s Network.