Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Female Labors

Day 9

Definition: Female labors are women who work too long, too hard, and too much, especially in back breaking manual labor.

The majority of women earn on average 3/4 of the pay of males for the same work. 

On one hectare farm in the Indian Himalayans, a pair of bullock's works 1064 hours. a man works 1212 hours and a woman 3485 hours in a year.

     A portion of the book:  The women of the village would laugh about it, look up from their work as they cooked around the fire, and push their tongues through spaces once filled by teeth and smile.  They tried to prepare me for the day when the village midwife would put a knife between my legs and cut me.
     "You"ll scream until you fade into dark dreams, then wake up groaning in pain.  The most pain you will ever know."
     "You'll pray to God that you could die.  It is one of the times in your life you"ll wish you were born a man."
     "But you won't have to work for a week."  And then they would all laugh.  Around the circle they would go, energized by each other's playfulness after another tiring day, each new comment like another stick thrown into the fire, until they felt warmed and comforted by the laughter.
     "A week of rest, of sleeping, of nothing."
     "You'll feel restless with so little to do."
     "But oh, you'll remember that week, daughter.  When you're out in the field planting seeds with your own hands, bent over the dry earth."
     " When you're walking all that way from the river with a jug of water on your head, the sun beating down on you."
     "When you're fetching firewood, or watering the goats."
     "When your husband chooses to lie with you at night--"
     "or in the morning, or in the afternoon!"
     "When you bury another baby in the ground, you"ll remember that week of rest."  The women sitting around the fire would become quiet.  Some busy again with work.  Some would stare into the fire.  Their faces betrayed their fatigue.  Skin weathered by wind and dryness and sun.  Bodies taut, hands strong and muscled. 
     "You'll wish you could bite that stick between your teeth and welcome the pain, if only to a have a few days rest." (30 Days of Prayer for the Voiceless)

Who is like our God who rescues the poor from those too strong for them? Psalm 35:10

Can you imagine?  I can't.  What if I was born into that?  Why was I placed here?  In such a place of privilege and freedom.  I don't know and I don't understand, but I know we have a responsibility to help, to pray, to educate others, to help save these women.  We can make a difference even if it is just for one.  Imagine if you were that one.

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