Every year on March 8th, countries around the world celebrate International Women’s Day commemorating the movement for women’s rights. On International Women’s Day we take a moment to remember the women who have fought for the rights that we have today, and we stand together fighting the battles that haven’t yet been won.
Today in the Dominican Republic, we remember María Trinidad Sánchez, a freedom fighter and heroine of the Dominican War of Independence. She also helped design the Dominican flag. She was captured by enemies and later murdered for refusing to give up information.
Today in the Dominican Republic, we remember women like Salomé Ureña who was not only a poet publishing works at the age of 17, but also founded the first center for higher education for women called, Instituto de Señoritas around 1881. She saw the importance of literacy and higher education and worked to give women opportunities they were being denied.
Today in the Dominican Republic, we remember women like Andrea Evangelina Rodríguez Perozo who became the first woman doctor in the country during the early 1900’s. She was a gynecologist, obstetrician and pediatrician during Trujillo’s era and openly opposed his regime, a dangerous thing for anyone, let alone a woman, to do.
Today in the Dominican Republic, we remember women like the three Mirabal sisters, famously known as las Mariposas, who fought together in a time of brutal dictatorship to bring peace to the nation. During the 31 year dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo, these three sisters played a pivotal part in his downfall during a time when women were expected to stay at home and abide by their husbands.
Today in the Dominican Republic, we remember women like Florinda Soriano Muñoz, more popularly knowns Mama Tingo, a rural environmentalist who fought for the rights of all campesinos during the regime of Balaguer. She never let her age stop her and at 50, she fought against the unjustified disposition of land until her death.
Days like today remind us of the importance of reflection and appreciation. We must remember the women and battles fought so as not to let history repeat itself. This women’s day, take time to celebrate the women in your life and give thanks to the strong ones that came before us. The ones that paved the way for the rights that we have now. There is still much to be done around the world, and today is a day to spread the awareness of women’s rights and further fight for the equality and fair treatment of all. Remember, empowered women empower women!