Thursday, November 26, 2009

Choice Words: Women's Work

Originally appeared on July 27th, 2009

Over the weekend, one of the most read articles on the BBC News website was The Women Who Clear Sudan’s Minefields.
Jamba Besta had planned to be a secretary, hoping to find work in an office as her homeland of South Sudan emerged out of a 22-year long civil war. Instead, the pregnant mother heads an all-female team of de-miners, removing dangerous explosives from former battlefields.
“I never thought I would be doing this,” says Ms Besta, welcoming her six-woman team back from the danger zone they are clearing.
“But it shows those people who think that women can’t do jobs like this that they are wrong.”
The team’s members say they work better as an all-women team – supporting each other against often critical comments that de-mining is work only for a man.
Similar all-women teams work elsewhere in the world, including Kosovo and Cambodia.
I have no illusions that mine-clearing is dangerous work, but this makes me feel so proud of women around the world, women who are taking an active role in rebuilding their communities, supporting each other, and challenging views of what work is appropriate for women.

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