You carry the stories, the details, the proof of every way that women and girls are harmed, silenced, kept separate, physically and mentally brutalized, murdered. You bring it forward for us all, as we in our communities speak out about the empty promises, excuses, met with silencing and violence.
You know the importance of our being in touch, these connections between women holding this world together, challenging the wheeling and dealing behind closed doors, as women do most of the work globally, mostly not paid to do this healing, creating this shift. You recognize this, and for all of us, you make sure it is known. You carry our stories as evidence, to the UN. The UN, which has promised respect for women and girls, for years.
You call for peace in every country, as women in areas of war form alliances across differences, to stop men from killing. We are furious together at the imprisonment, suppression, taunting, ineffective courts, need for more crisis centres, actions we take to feed and keep people safe. As we go into communities who have never experienced freedom, we know you are there, speaking for freedom for women and girls, freedom from wars and all forms of violence. You call for peace while we are holding each other in each other's arms in war zones.
Together we know the unpaid work women are doing. You prioritize the right for women to own money and the right to choose our own life paths. You keep safe our library of information and bring forward what we see possible for a peaceful world. You stand strong for us all, in how essential this is. You stand before these governments dominated by men. You challenge courts failing women, laws being broken, women harmed. As we gather these women and girls in our arms, we know you bring this forward.
We are strengthened, knowing that we are working together. Violence by men, child marriage, FGM, human trafficking. We mourn together. You push for change. The right to think, go to school, have safe toilets, good water, food. The right to a world in which everyone is safe, healthy and free. While we hold women and girls in our arms, we know you are there.
You question why we are in this situation half century later. These days it is women taking food and water to communities. It is women holding the children, cooking, cleaning and caring for everyone, so often for free, no choice, from the goodness of our hearts. You know we do it because we care about everyone, the animals, the Earth. You know that we could do so much more if our work was paid.
We know, together, that there is resistance to this change, this change that needs women's leadership. World governments not willing to stop violence against women and girls, and against anyone who does not seem to obey what is called culture, law, custom, tradition. Together we have seen generations pass with little change from the message that men have the right to dominate, the right and expectation to control, with violence. As we hold the women and girls in our arms, we know you are there, challenging the non-action by governments whose inaction is sealed with handshakes and deals, behind closed doors. These traditions which keep girls from being in school, that shame us for menstruating, that keep us from even reaching adulthood, that fail to protect us from violence. We are challenging the world economy, hoarded by men, who continue to teach boys that men deserve more and women deserve nothing. We share our collective shock, knowing that we have been saying it for years, empowered in the knowledge that we have each other. Violence against and suppression of women and girls has to end. Our intention is that all violence will end. That all of these wars must end. While we hold the women and girls, and tell them that this should not be happening, we know you are there.
As one woman meets with a group of girls and women, and asks them what they need and what needs to change, we know we have you. When we are collecting food for people, helping women give birth, hiding women from violent men, speaking out about the lack of basic human rights, of freedom, of safety, of respect and the right to decide on our own lives, you document and keep safe the information we gather, the plans we lay out. You call out the truth, that women are holding this world together, for free. Because we care.
We know from the calculated hiding of the history of women, that our story is still being erased. You put it on record. You name the violence. You name the excuses. The dowry deaths, acid thrown in faces, the honour killings, trafficking, rape. We write our stories and you continue to gather our news, and speak out.
We are much further than we were 25 years ago, but the resistance has grown too. You challenge the false story being passed through generations, this story that continually erases the truth about women. Together we envision a world in which no one is hurt, no murders, imprisonments, psychiatric wards, beatings, killings, being stripped of property when husbands die. You recognize that we are in refugee camps, in postwar destruction, in areas that are war zones now. You call for peace and justice and freedom for women, while we are holding each other in each other's arms.
You name this hard work women are doing, so much more dangerous now, in the grip of a pandemic, and in the crisis of our Earth being ruined. You love this Earth the way we do. With you there, we can continue with what we are each doing. You speak out for us all, and expose the brutal silencing, holding fast through the resistance as you continue to bring forward our collective call for change. You call for justice and action. Because of you, our reality is written into the records. Because of you, we are heard at the UN. We hope you know how glad we are that you are there. We are together even though we've never met in person. We celebrate how far we have come. We link arms for the world that we know is possible.