Angela’s 2010 Candlelighting Message

Tena koutou katoa,

This is the time of the year when we remember all of our BPW sisters around the world.  The time when we remember the issues they’re fighting for and the time when we share their fight to advance the status of women.  And them with us.

And the fire in our belly lives on.

And it needs to!

Why else do we continue to fight – to fight for the right to live a safe life, free from violence from family members, to fight for equal pay for work of equal value, and to fight for the right to serve on boards and lead businesses out of the red and in to the black and therefore lead our economy forward.  But that’s not all.  We fight mostly for recognition, to be valued and respected as equal partners in this world and we fight for our children, our future.

So now that you’ve lit the fire, burnt the bracken and let the grass grow through to feed your livestock, you need to prepare the next stage.   We need to plough the ground, expose the dirt to the world, disc the ground in to shape and plant our crop ready for the next season.

And that’s what this year is about.  It’s about using the groundwork that you did last year to build on this year.  It’s about creating fertile ground for new members and tending the ones you have.  It’s about planting the seeds in your community and taking care of the interested women coming your way.  We have the tools and capabilities to do this.

And let’s not forget that we need to look after ourselves and keep our own strength up.  Because we still have clubs to run, letters to write, issues to deal with and decision-makers to lobby.

So each time you light a candle draw the strength from it knowing that women around the world are doing the same thing and our  spirits are all working together for the one thing…advancing the status of women.

Once all the candles are lit, stand back, take a big breath and stand a while.  Take in the sight of all the candles burning and relax for a minute.  Use that minute to think of yourself and how all of those candles and the strength of the 20,000 plus BPW members worldwide can hold you up.

Tonight, think too about your part in the big BPW picture and how you can support your club in increasing membership and other goals, how the club can support you with yours and how you can support the club support the federation with the goals of all women.  To be safe, equal in leading the economy and paid fairly.

Kia hiwa ra, kia kaha

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