As the month of honouring those who have come before us draws to a close, we're left reflecting on the power women have to drive meaningful change in the world — from shattering records in athleticism to changing the face of media to serving in public office. It's a feel-good moment to remember how many amazing women have come before us and forged our world into what it is today. And with the adrenaline rush of the women's march (and all the activism that followed) still coursing through our veins while Beyoncé blares in our hearts, it's easy to feel like girls really do (and can) run the world.
But this sense of progress and power is of course juxtaposed with the divisive political landscape that inspired the solidarity of recent months in the first place. It's possible that the Trump administration is the best thing to happen to feminism in a long time — challenging apathy and activating many who might otherwise opt out of the conversation altogether. But we're paying a high price for that activation, with our bodies, our paychecks, and our health. We're reminded of the fact that women's most fundamental rights are at risk in a very real way.
That's perhaps more true for Muslim women than many other groups. Amidst ever-looming threats of revised travel bans targeting Muslim countries, dangerous rhetoric sparking anti-Muslim violence, increasingly persistent acts of vandalism targeting mosques, and a rising tide of Islamophobia and hate speech, one only need to look around and listen to sense that we still have a long road ahead of us, when it comes to notions of harnessing power, progress, and equality for all women.
And that starts with elevating the voices of all women — which is why today, we're countering a narrative of oppression and fear with the stories of a diverse group of women sharing experiences of activism, persistence, and community. As Zerina Iman, a New York City high school student shared with Refinery29, "Muslim Women's Day is the celebration of Muslim women, who have thrived for thousands of years. It provides us, Muslim women, with a moment of pride, long overdue. It shows the world that we are not hiding, nor are we oppressed. Most importantly, it's a beacon for young Muslim girls, like me, across the U.S. and the world, letting them know no matter what hate they face in this new era, they should be proud of their religion, of their legacy, and of the women just like them who continue to change society each day."
With that in mind, we're partnering with MuslimGirl.com to right the trend of misrepresentation and under-representation in some small way. Alongside a range of other partner publications, we're committing today to amplifying powerful, positive messages of solidarity with Muslim women of all backgrounds. We're proud to celebrate the inaugural #MuslimWomensDay today, taking the opportunity to dispel stereotypes, showcase the diversity of this community, and share some triumphant stories of Muslim women inspiring us all. To participate yourself, you can do three things:
1. Amplify the voices of Muslim women in your social feeds. Reblog, RT, and share their stories and personal messages today.
2. Share the experiences of Muslim women. You'll see these stories, images, and videos publish across our site and many others today — highlight the ones that resonate with you.
3. Participate in the conversation. Use the #MuslimWomensDay hashtag to take part in the discussion going on all day long (and hopefully well into the future). The combatting of stereotypes and of hate starts with discourse first and foremost.