I am stoked that it is still Women's History Month (and last week was International Women's day, with which I made many rants about intersectionality and appreciating and recognizing women from all over the globe and their tremendous efforts to promote women's roles, etc, as well as to progress all of our respected women's movements, etc). So in this week's "Sheroes" blog post, I'd like to focus on two international women who held significant roles in social justice movements in their communities:
Ani Pachen(1933–2002) was a Tibetan Buddhist nun who led her clan in armed rebellion against China. She is known as the Tibetan Joan of Arc due to her peaceful protest and revolution against the Chinese invasion in Tibet. At the age of 17 she took her future into her hands and fled to a monastary after hearing of plans of an arranged marriage. She spent 18 years in the monastery. She inherited the leadership of the Lemdha Clan after he father died (and would also inherit accusations from the Chinese, due to her father's connections, helping to land her in jail). She led her clan in rebellion against the Communist Chinese. She led a guerrilla campaign of 600 fighters on horseback againstChinese tanks until her capture in late 1959. Pachen was released from prison in 1981, having endured many painful years full of torture (starvation, physical torture, etc). She dedicated her the rest of her life to resisting the Chinese in Lhasa and pushing towards Tibetan independence. She fled to the border upon learning that she was to be arrested again and wandered for several days in deep snow. She walked 25 days to Nepal and her lifelong dream to meet the Dalai Lama came true after she was granted a personal audience shortly after her arrival.
Her autobiography Sorrow Mountain: The Journey of a Tibetan Warrior Nun is one of my favorite reads. Much like the autobiography of the Dalai Lama, it portrays a young individual not much different than myself and my peers (snobby, selfish, rude) who learned from their mistakes and passions and grew up into one of the greatest heroes of our time. She pioneered the way for many revolutionists and is still a wonderful symbol of peace and justice.
(1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) was a Kenyan environmental and political activist. In the 1970s she founded the Green-Belt Movement, an environmental and non-governmental organization focused on planting trees, conservation and women's rights. In 2004 she became the first African woman to win the Nobel peace Prize for "her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.". She was an elected member of parliament and served as assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources in the government of President Mwai Kibaki between January 2003 and November 2005. Furthermore she was an Honorary Councillor of the World Future Council. In 2011, Maathai died of complications from ovarian cancer.
I highly recommend reading Unbowed: A Memoir which highlights much of her achievements. Maathai was extremely involved in, not only her government, but globally, as well. In topics such as AIDS awareness, women's health, environmental justice, issues of racism, governmental/politics, etc. A prominent figure of the world.