Yesterday, as we marked International Women Human Rights Defenders Day, we honored the work of activists around the world who promote and confront abuses of women's rights. This work has been going on for generations, and the successes that we have achieved today have come as a result of years of effort. But as history is recorded, the achievements and experiences of women often become a side note--or disappear altogether. As we move forward, we must be sure not to lose the stories of the women whose contributions are often ignored.
María Suárez Toro, a Costa Rican journalist and co-director of the radio network FIRE (Feminist International Radio Endeavor), has demonstrated that principle in her play, "The Labyrinth of the Butterfly." The performance, which we saw at the AWID Forum in Cape Town, captures the stories of women who are often ignored by historians, such as Albert Einstein's wife, Mileva Maric. A particularly powerful moment in the play came with the retelling of the testimony of a Korean "comfort woman" named Kim Boc Dong, one of the many who were captured by the Japanese military during World War II and forced into sexual slavery. Such stories rarely surface in typical accounts of warfare, but violence targeted at women is a universal feature of war and these stories must be heard. For more by María Suárez Toro on storytelling and feminist movement-building, click here.
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