we listened to senator pamela wallin and afghani journalist khorsied samad speak on the status of women in afghanistan and canada's involvement in the military and humanitarian efforts in the country. the event was hosted by the calgary based foundation canadian women for women in afghanistan and i was completely and utterly impressed by the speakers themselves and the work that this local ngo does.
the price of our tickets went towards a specific initiative to build libraries in afghanistan and 100% of all the money raised by the organisation goes straight towards the development projects. their focuses are on teacher training and building libraries, did you know that the annual salary of a teacher in afghanistan is $750? i am sure that many of us could afford that if we saved just $14.40/week for 1 year or even $7.20/week for 2 years.
one of the interesting aspects of the speeches included a discussion on the resurgence of the use of the burka for safety and security and that is was originally a fashion trend introduced to afghanistan by the indians (now pakistanis) as clothing worn by the aristocracy and it was only when the taliban used it to force women out of public society that it became a tool of oppression.
pamela wallin brought up many good points about military funding and if the canadian military had more money to spend, it could pave roads or use helicopters to travel in insecure areas to prevent improvised explosive devices from continuing to take canadian soldiers' lives. she also hit the nail on the head, as far as i am concerned, by calling canadians on their anti-americanism, which has come into vogue in the last decade and is completely against all that canadians claim to be - tolerant, accepting, and diverse.
after our educational saturday night, we went to divino and enjoyed a cheese plate of 5 of the most amazing cheeses i have ever had (seriously) followed by a crume brulee that ties the one that i had in paris for sweet, sweet decadence. i am not ashamed to say that it was so good it almost made me cry.
and at the end of an evening celebrating women and our achievements and challenges throughout the world, a nice gentleman offered to carry me through a snow storm to my car. and i didn't take him up on the offer! he was cute and charming and i am still kicking myself that i did not say yes and allow him to throw me over his shoulder and save my tootsies and their hot pink flats from the cold and wet.
as gloria says, the fact that i had a choice to be carried to my car, or not, is proof that women in this country have come a long way.
happy international women's day!