For some reason International Women's Day seems to have captured the imagination of people this year in a way that it has failed to do previously.
I have been heard to observe in the past that I have never quite understood the notion of women as the weaker sex. I understand it intellectually but emotionally I don't get it since my family doesn't appear to have any weak women it.
My great grandmother, who lived well into her nineties, raised a family of seven (or more) children in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras, through the depression and through both wars. My abiding memory of her was of a little birdlike woman, who nevertheless commanded authority and indeed like her monarch, Victoria, never let being a woman prevent her from doing what she had to do.
My grandmother as an older child was deeply respected by her brothers and when left a widow in her thirties raised her own family of three girls and one son. None of these women (one of whom was my mother) could have been said to be weak. My mother in turn had four daughters...and I can assure you they frighten the pants off me. They have led wildly different lives with gusto and determination.
In my turn I have had three daughters, and these women are throwing themselves into life, which is at times difficult, but there is never a sense in which they will let it defeat them.
The church, too, is full of women who are quite remarkable...strong, devout and committed.
For you all I give thanks today.