International Women's Day ♀

A Woman without her man

For IWD 2019 let's consider the following:

"A woman ...

            ... without her man ...

                        ... is less than nothing"

At first sight the words appear as chauvinistic text
But without proper punctuation, they lack conviction and context

Let's make a simple change to get #BalanceForBetter
By punctuating the spaces between the words and letters

Add a colon here, a comma there and the macho huffing and puffing

Becomes "A Woman:
                            without her,
                                    man is less than nothing"

© John McDonough

In Kapauku or Ekari
a language of Indonesia "muka" means peace
"mukamuka" is a great peace or peace that comes after war
the words tell you something 
about what is important to this island nation
"muka" also means a valuable cowry 
perhaps a homonym 
or just describing how peace can be found 
in "tedu" calm waters
and how it can be lost
when everyone wants what is valuable
in a place where not that many years ago
a woman could be bought 
for one string of shells

© Kimberly Burnham

Stitched up 
a fast 
of someone else’s 
40 wink dream-

Not 6
not 7 
not 8
not 9
in time
14 to 
16 hours
a day 
staring through the eye of a needle-

Many hands
winged feet 
destined to fly
to different shores-

in the
drenching rain 
of the 
sports shoe
sweat shop;

like Mercury rising
we soar 
head in the clouds
over and above 
the land of
Just Do It
trailing poison
through the
very stars in 
our wake-

Let's talk about

© Bex Tate

It is widely believed
that women protests
against male domination
and the quest for equality
is a modern phenomenon.
Not so. Throughout history
there's plenty of testimony
that women always battled
against male hegemony.
There are many examples
that in many a nation
females were subjected
to discrimination
but there were also some
who declined to be egg carriers
and succeeded in breaking
taboos and barriers.
From Boudica to Queen Bess,
Marie Curie, Marie Stopes
and a legion of others,
many ladies have proved
that power and success
are not the prerogative of men.
I abhor misogyny
and favour philogyny.
But while some fuss
that there is them and us
I remain an optimist.
I have faith that man
will stop being a chauvinist
and hope that no woman
will ever be a misandrist.

© Luigi Pagano

Butterfly ash gown opens at the front. 

Then three rounds of the diagnostic machine
pressing me to a plate for development.

I thought of Rosalind Franklin
working in dark, illuminating  
the twisted ladder of our DNA. 
Afterwards, her colleagues said she was 
                                                contained, aloof
very focused on her work.

© Rona Fitzgerald

Superwoman - a found poem ♀

(with thanks to a Women’s magazine for all the words)

Somewhere, nowhere, blood orange,
strong, empowering and upbeat. Let’s make this
about you, let’s build the future together. 
Does your daily routine match up to Coco Chanel? 
A teal bag from £16,000, monochrome £2,200, 
two-tone only £5,300. We’re the ones getting
everything ready and I’ll clean up at the same time.
Palette pop, scan with Fendi, experience the new
complexion enhancing ranges. We need to befriend
our madwoman, our inner critic, try ribcage jeans.

Here’s something you need to know, everyone
can benefit from ceramides. Check out my latest video;
the secrets to the best brows yet. Powerful, alluring,
female strength finds its voice in perfumery. 
It’s time to move on from Elephant’s Breath,
paint the ceiling in full gloss to bounce light around
the room. Are you running yourself into the ground?
I am officially brain-dead. I don’t want to talk
to anyone when it’s all over. The show must go on.
You are not still doing that are you? The fluff
really gets between your toes, buy less but buy
better. You might not have heard but the most blah
of shades is the biggest trend. Which shade are you?

Have you ever considered that your thoughts might
be what’s causing your stomach flare-up? Dream big
with this season’s luxurious shoes and bags. Look
for silk-satin and pleats to create a satisfying swoosh.
The new season defined for you, visibly reduces 
wrinkles in just two weeks, and of all the trends to embrace
this creates a soft focus, glass skin and blurred lips.
We want to have a real moment, create a real emotion,
our good girl is a woman with a mission, book a celebration
of femininity, subject to availability while stocks last.

© Denise Blake

The New Suffragettes ♀

Get out of our way,

we're the New Suffragettes.

We drink what we want

and we smoke cigarettes,

we don't want soft words

and gold statuettes.

We take what we want,

we're the New Suffragettes.

We won't bow to pressure

or masculine threats.

We won't have remorse

or gender regrets

and we stand proud together,

both blondes and brunettes.

We take what we want,

we're the New Suffragettes.

Don't think that we owe you,

we've paid all our debts.

We take what we want,

we're the New Suffragettes.

© Andrew Goodison

Invisible Women ♀

Crash-test dummies shaped like men smashed

gentlemanly cartoon holes in crash-test walls
while actual men with calipers and laser beams
charted the mannish space they left behind.

So, as ever, she slipped through too bulky seat belts, 
or, beneath the steering column, improperly restrained,
she crashed the dashboard, went through the windscreen,
unprotected by the crumple zones, far more like to die.

And there were never any dummies for the woman
in the passenger seat, in her women’s place;
because no man was ever curious enough to see
the difference she made by being there.

It always was the men, techie boys and nerds,
caught up in data, algorithms, routines,
who programmed everything with a blokey mind,
who omitted the question of a feminine side,
who avoided the distaff, the brain’s right side,
and suppressed rising anima with their animus,
not out of animosity, you understand,
but filtered out by astigmatic ignorance.

It’s a man’s world, a world of patriarchs, the patriarch,
for all his empathy (and then not much) is heard to say,
who designed the bridges, the cars that cross them,
this electric world, its lights and wires, our industry,
its phones and planes and automatic doors?

He implies: it’s chaps like me, and he ignores
all those silly women who mapped the stars,
who plumbed the biology of cells, lived with apes
(who taught more than husbands ever would),
who found the skulls of forebears, explored
the quantum universe, sent rockets into space,
looked inside black coal and spiralled DNA,
who won their own prizes for things that
some men thought only men could do.

And so there it is:
the yawning gap in our assumptions,
a chasm, where the wisdom and prowess
of half the world is disregarded,
left out of the reckoning, just because
half the world condemns the rest to seem
more useless than itself.

© Brian Hill

Frauen aller Länder vereinigt Euch! ♀

Meet Sophie the sophist
Who loves to wear long eye lashes.
She's a glutton for punishment.
Then there's Jodie,
A train driver.
She says men have one track minds.
What about Marilyn?
The jockey who likes a ride.
No dead heats for her.
Meet Señorita Silva
The gold digger.
She thinks size matters, especially for wallets.
Of course Ms Primrose Propper
Would disapprove of the above
Imploring 'get your own metal detector!'
Have you met Miss Jones?
She's an actress
But says she's an actor as she sashays down
The red carpet, décolleté, high-heeled.
What about  Alsayida Aisha?
 She's wearing her abaya, niqāb and gloves
But underneath it's Fleur du Mal, Coco de Mer

And Dior where the sun don't shine. 
Finally, what of Bernadette?Queen of the billabong. 
Saving up for the op – is that wrong?
So what can we say of the above today?
They are all women in every way.
All feminists through and through.
Me too!

© David Ellis

Gentle Women, Adult Female Persons, and Housewives in Indonesia ♀

In Indonesian "wanita" is defined as an adult female person
so is "perempuan" and "inong" 
"céwék" and "ibu" mean woman
"bu" is translated dame, gentle woman, lady, 
ma'am, madam, mother, as well as woman
and I wonder how women are treated in Indonesia 
by the author of the dictionary including 
these example sentences:

"Just bite the bullet 
and have a Cobb salad with the woman"
"Nikmatilah saat yang buruk 
dan juga salad Cobb dengan ibu"
I imagine shouting and wonder 
what a Cobb salad and a bullet taste like in Indonesia

"A woman fell from a ship into the sea."
"Seorang perempuan jatuh ke laut dari sebuah kapal"
a story comes about why she was on the ship 
and how she fell
loss of life followed by a string of words and losses

"A woman whose husband is dead is called a widow"
"Seorang wanita, yang suaminya meninggal, disebut janda"
and "The woman had just lost her only daughter"
"Satu-satunya anak perempuan wanita itu baru saja meninggal"

Then I imagine a man saying this sentence using "woman"
but she doesn't really seem to be there in Indonesian
"How dare you touch my woman!"
"Beraninya kau menyentuh istriku!"
he is trying to posses this woman 
who has lost so much and control 
three Indonesian housewives arrested for posting a video
advocating for lesbian rights 

And a mother of sons responds
"When a woman gives it to you straight
don't give her a line like you don't remember"
"Saat wanita berterus terang, 
jangan ucapkan kalimat misalnya kau tak ingat apa-apa"
I relax when these words are spoken
maybe women are taking back the power
that was always ours here and there 
around the world

© Kimberly Burnham

The Islington Ladies Subversive Ukulele Ensemble ♀

(Apologies to George Formby ‘ Leaning on a lamp post’)

I’m lurking up the alley by a dark and lonely park
        G7                                C
until a lonely little lady comes by
DM7    G7    C Am7        
there’s one, I spy
G                 D7      G    G7
she’ll clock me up the alley and fly -
I hope she doesn’t get away
I always like to have my way
    G7                        C
It thrills me if they scream and they cry
so I’m lurking up the alley by a dark and lonely park       
          G7                            C
until a lonely little lady comes by.

© S.O. Fasrus

Equal ♀

“Woman is the companion of man, gifted with equal mental capacity,” said Ghandi.

We have access to equal rights
As men do
Let's not make it a war, a struggle,
Let the sexes work together-
There is an International men's day too.

© Amanda Derry