At PPI – Middle East, every day is Women’s Day, with 70% of our participants and 80% of our staff made of of girls and women. So, it makes sense that we take a minute to mark International Women’s Day, which was on March 8. This post explains a little bit of the history behind Women’s Day and how PPI-ME is making Women’s Day happen year round.
The first Women’s Day was held in the early 1900’s to “celebrate the achievements of women while calling for greater equality.” Today, events are held all over the world to recognize the achievements of women socially, politically, and economically. Purple is the color scheme often associated with this day due to its representation of justice and dignity which are very important in equality to women. This year’s theme is “Make it Happen” to encourage recognition of the progress made.
By looking at pictures and meeting former participants who currently work for PeacePlayers, it is easy to see how PPI – ME invests in its female participants both on and off the court. Duha, who has been a part of PPI-ME for many years and is now a program manager and coach, has been able to travel to the U.S. and other countries through her work with PeacePlayers. She once spoke about how in her community it is not common for girls to play basketball, and it is not considered a good way to spend time. Girls see the opportunities she has been afforded through basketball and PeacePlayers and now they are becoming interested in the sport. This sport, which was once just a hobby, has allowed Duha to play on PPI – ME’s Palestinian-Israeli women’s league team in Jerusalem, meet U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice, tour famous sports arenas, and work for PeacePlayers amongst other things.
Heni, an Israeli program manager and coach in the Jerusalem area, is currently in the U.S. for the Clinton Global Initiative University, where she spoke on a panel about peace and the Middle East. Aysha, another participant turned coach, is getting ready to join a UN leadership camp in Germany in April.
Duha, Heni and other female players in her community are definitely changing perceptions and “making it happen.” PPI – ME salutes these and all the women that believe and are working toward change, justice, and equality. With hard work, lots of passion, and great support, we can all “Make it Happen”.