I received a very special invitation from Seena and Sebastian Panakal to speak to a group of women for International Women’s Day on March 8th. In Australia, the status of women continues to improve and gender equality is increasing in evidence. There is a lot of public attention on treating women with respect but that is still not always the case.
The group of women who I was to present to were from Kerala, India. These are Women of the Wiki, women who wish to become empowered, improve their status in life and the education of their community and to increase employment opportunities for their families. They do not enjoy the same privileges or standard of living that I, as a woman in Australia does. How special to share this International Day with women who lived in another country.
My role was to share the power that technology can provide. Accents can always be a problem and English may not be their first language, so I put together a brief Powerpoint presentation with images to help with understanding. I showed where I live (on a farm in rural south Eastern Australia) and where I teach (a remote rural school of 200 students aged 5 to 18), an area that has no mobile phone service. However, access to the internet and a powerful network has enabled the world to be our classroom, resulting in a number of awards including global awards. Many invitations have now come my way to present at a variety of conferences both in Australia and overseas, including Qatar, Shanghai and USA. It is hoped that these women could see that ordinary women can achieve great things with the innovative use of technology and a strong network.
Skype was used to connect. Screen sharing allowed the Indian audience to see my presentation. Sebastian capably organised the videoconference from his end.
The women of Kerala, India were encouraged to consider tourism, providing homestays (through homestays.com or airbnb or similar) or “meals with strangers” (through apps and sites like VizEat, EatWith) could provide a welcome income for some of these women. Selling their craft work online is another possibility. The internet can open up willing global markets. They could teach their language online for a small fee. What other ideas do you have to help them?
Sebastian Panakal, a valued online teaching colleague, together with his wife Seena organised this event. Other online guest speakers were to follow. It is hoped that these women can think of ways to use technology to full effect and improve their and their family’s station in life.
One of the women asks a question
Three continents, two different time zones, two classes from different countries and the guest speaker from a third country/continent for International Women’s Day.
March 8th across the world is International Women’s Day. Our school continued to celebrate it on March 9th, when Canada, USA and others on the other side of the world were still in March 8th . A special lunchtime linkup was organised with Arianne Jones, a Luge Olympic Champion for Canada. Due to time zone confusion, the primary school students became part of a later connection rather than the lunchtime linkup that we were expecting. The fascinating part of the linkup was that a school from Delhi, India became part of our 3 way connection. The connection was organised through Skype in the Classroom and Classroom Champions.
Arianne was an inspiring speaker who should never have been a Luge champion. She is thin and far too light in weight. Even her coach had no faith in her and gave her little opportunity initially. However, she persevered and is now the Olympic Luge champion for Canada.
When she finished speaking, Arianne encouraged Hawkesdale students to ask 5 questions, then the students from India asked 5 questions – all really interesting and forcing us to cope with the Indian accent.
She encouraged the students to “dream big and chase your dreams!!!” The response from the Indian teacher was ” our kids are so overwhelmed speaking to you.. you have been a true motivation for them” There are many wonderful opportunities on Skype in the Classroom website, many tailored for special celebatory days
@skypeclassroom @@jonesluge #IWD2017 #IWD
8th March is International Women’s Day. Interesting to see that it is a trending topic on twitter for today with an interesting assortment of hashtags! In the past, at our school, we have celebrated by:-
- taking all female students and staff down to the nearby Apex Park for a picnic lunch.
- encouraging all students to come to school in something purple
- giving each student a purple ribbon to wear
Our visiting Chinese student tells us that it is common for girls in China to give flowers or presents to their mothers. How do other cultures celebrate international womens day?
My friend Tatyana from Russia emailed me further information:-
It is really an event here in Russia. Men try to do their best even some days before the holiday.
Yesterday the city traffic collapsed, the price of flowers went several times higher.
It is usually a family holiday. Spring is in the air, love and all that.
Govinda, my friend from Nepal said on skype:-
we have school off
[8/03/2012 12:59:52 PM] Govinda Prasad Panthy: women foundations in different part of the country organize some programs.
Lin-lin from Taiwan commented
we seldom celebrate Womem’s Day nowadays…We used to have a holiday this day about 20 years ago…but now…things are very different here.Do you celebrate International Womens Day in your classroom? How do other cultures celebrate? Some page of resources and activities can be found at International Women’s Day