Friday, March 08, 2024


It's International Women's Day and in Italy that means there is mimosa blossom - or creative representations of mimosa blossom - everywhere. As I've written before, the person who inspired this tradition was Teresa Mattei, one of the "Mothers of the Constitution" and very glad I am of it, because on this day all the bars and pastry shops have mimosa-inspired cakes while shops and businesses offer discounts to women and even give us little bouquets of mimosa. This morning I didn't have to pay for a coffee in my local bar because the owner of a nearby business had paid for all the women's coffees for the whole morning!

On a more serious note, here is a poem I have written for this day:

International Women's Day 2024

A Poem for Every Woman

This poem is for every woman.
It's for every woman who has had an idea ignored
and listened to the applause when a man suggested the same thing.
It's for every woman who's been told she's too plain or too pretty,
too fat, too thin, too stupid or too clever.

It's for every woman who's walked home 

alone and scared in the dark
with her keys in her hand and her phone at the ready
and quickened her pace as the steps speeded behind her.

It's for every woman who's been cat-called,

derided, belittled, harassed
and gone home weeping
and whose story has not been heard.

It's for Sarah and it's for Giulia

and it's for Tina. It's for the woman
who was nearly my mother-in-law,
whose husband hit her every day
and left her lying in the grate.

It's for Jo and the women MPs
afraid for their safety, less for their beliefs
than because it's women who dare to hold them -
in the United Kingdom, of all countries.

It's for the women who raise awareness,
it's for the writers – for Maya, for Dacia,
for Gloria, Simone and Toni
and so many others.

It's for the 1950s and 60s women
forced to give away their illegitimate children
and never see them again -
- children like me.

It's for the 2020s women,
hostages, soldiers, medics, dissidents,
wives, mothers, facing war, starvation, enduring loss,
in scenarios we believed expunged from our era.
It's for you, Yulia Navalnya.

It's for the women who have
no access to education and read in secret
and the women who fight 
for them. So it's for you, Malala.

It's for every woman whose needs are dismissed
because she's single or childless or old
or different in some way
and does not know where to sit
at the laden festive table.

It's for Janey and the women who make us laugh,
it's for the women who hold us up,
the women who love with us and the women who cry with us.

It's for all the women who fear
and all the women who dare
and the women who fear because they dare.

This poem is for every woman.


Sarah Everard – kidnapped and killed, aged 33, as she was walking home in London on 3rd March 2021.

Giulia Cecchettin - brutally killed, aged 22, by her ex-boyfriend in Italy on 11th November 2023.

Tina Turner (1939-2023) – singer and songwriter who was abused by her first husband.

MPs – Members of Parliament.

Helen Joanne “Jo” Cox - British Member of Parliament who was shot and stabbed to death in Birstall, Yorkshire, UK, by a man with far-right views on 16th June 2016.

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014) – American writer and civil rights activist.

Dacia Maraini (b. 1936) – Italian writer focussing on women's issues.

Gloria Steinem (b. 1934) – American journalist and a leader of US second-wave feminism.

Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) – French feminist existentialist writer and political activist.

Toni Morrison (1931-2019) – American writer and Nobel Laureate focussing on the Black female experience in the US.

Yulia Borisnovna Navalnya (b. 1976) – economist and widow of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny (d. 2024). She has vowed to continue her husband's work and on 28th February 2024, speaking in English, she addressed the European Parliament.

Malala Yousafzai (b. 1997) – Pakistani activist focussing on the rights of girls and women to education. She was shot and very seriously injured in 2012 while on her way home from school. She is the youngest Nobel Laureate.

Janey Godley (b. 1961) – Scottish comedian and writer.

© Pat M. Eggleton 2024

Happy International Women's Day!  Buona Festa della Donna!


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