International Women’s Day was Thursday, March 8, 2018. It’s days later and I now find time to acknowledge, honor, recognize, applaud some of the women we met along the way during our two back-to-back Chiapas Textile Study Tours in February and March this year.
I don’t know all their names.
Their hands, feet and faces are universal stories of women who work hard with little recompense.
Their garments tell the stories of culture, history, creativity and subjugation by Spanish conquerors who imposed clothing style as indigenous identifier.
Most are women who weave or embroider.
Some are women who craft pottery — cooking vessels and decorative jaguars, many of them life-size.
A few are famous. Most are not.
They are mothers, daughters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, nieces.
Some, like Rosa and her husband Cristobal, participated in the 1994 Zapatista uprising to stand for indigenous rights. The movement paved the way for a stronger voice for women.
They carry babies on their backs, harnessed by robozos.
They use rebozos shifted to the front of their bodies so infants can suckle. They use rebozos to carry market vegetables and fruit to the cooking fires.
Few are professionals like Lourdes who translates Spanish to English for us, educated in sophisticated cities far away.
Others head cooperatives, organizing the business of textile making and selling to sustain families.
Some are faceless. We see their progeny.
A few are expats from Italy, France, Canada, the United States or Japan, who migrate to the promise land.
We see hands making tortillas, tending the cooking fire, soothing a child’s cry, serving a husband dinner.
Most of all, we know that women’s work begins early and ends late, is continuous, often self-less and usually in the service of others.
Take a moment to consider what women around the world give as we regard those whose photos we see here.
Take a moment to give thanks to all the women in the world. We are more similar than we are different.