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Warts, Witches and International Women's Day

Ntozake Shange famously said, 'where there is a woman, there is magic'.  


My favourite history lessons were the ones about medieval times and the witch hunts.  I enjoyed the direct links between the stories we hear now and the history of society.  Now I don’t think Ntozake Shange was referring to anything like that.  It did lead to me thinking, however, what is the definition of magic?  It is wonderful,  it is exciting.  


The stereotype of a witch was an old, single unattractive woman living on the outskirts of the settlement.  Literature has added warts.  Historically, sure, a woman on her own was mistrusted and mistreated.  This was who the unexplained negative things got blamed on, and so we have the witch hunts.  


The idea of a spinster has many negative connotations, but many positive ones have come out of a woman being by herself: fiercely independent, self assured, strong.  But international women’s day is about recognising the achievements of women.  It is about ALL women and it is a celebration.  We have come far, and this is not due to centuries of passivity.  It is due to bringing about change through action.  Action is what comes after dreaming.  


It’s the frightening part.  The daring part.  The brave part.  


Feeding this action is learning.  A fools errand it would certainly be if we went out into the world without a bank of knowledge to arm us.  To understand what needs changing and decipher how to change it.  Our progress on this planet relies on it.  


   Author: Anna-Maria Amato



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