History of women
For decades, research about the role of women in societies has come to various different conclusions. Some anthropologists claim that societies in different cultures, even to this day, are lead by female leaders - while others offer overwhelming proof that women have always been in the less advantaged and less privileged position compared to their male counterparts. While women in tribes are seen as equal to their partner (as the givers of life and nurturers of the family) men are still in leadership positions on the larger scale. To understand a matriarchal society better, it is interesting to look at different mythologies, for example in the Amazon region. Here, women were considered as valuable as men, oftentimes taking part in wars alongside their husbands, and not marrying before having “kissed a man in battle” (1). Furthermore, research about Celtic societies has shown that women held great power within these communities, as shown in legal codes including marriage and divorce, property ownership and the right to hold a political role (2). And while both first and second wave feminism includes concepts of matriarchal societies, the role of women in modern societies has not been equal to their male counterparts.
Despite women being mothers and therefore essentially the “giver of life”, modern societies have patriarchal structures.
Still today women all over the world, with only very few exceptions, earn less than men with the same qualifications and in the same position. Furthermore, the classic image of a woman includes motherhood; a subconscious, yet very clear expectation concerning women of a certain age. And while the appropriate age for childbirth is dependent on cultural background, women, whether in careers that require maximum commitment or not, are expected to bear children in order to make their contribution to society. The responsibility of raising a family is historically put on women; while men do “the worldly work”, whether this was hunting, physical labour, or regular ‘bread-winning’ careers - women are expected to raise children to become valuable members of society. This pressure is put on them, without the recognition of the responsibility that comes with it. And while not all cultures treat women as inferior, they are oftentimes less advantaged in every sense.
What women are
And while women are viewed as the deliverer of life and the foundation for a home, their lives are mostly not constructed and designed around the idea of them playing this particular part in the society. Being raised with this general mindset and these general expectations, the pursuit of nature and health are first and foremost considered feminine interests - because women are the creators of the future generation - they are looking into the future, and have their eyes pointed on what is to come. And while this analogy of “Mother Nature” being a parental figure is a comforting parallel, the true connection is often overlooked. Nature is a home to many: plants, animals of every kind and, of course, humans. Comfort and a nurturing sense of home is the naturally given foundation; whether this includes the world as our physical home, or mothers laying the roots for a family and an ‘emotional home’. And much like trees, roots need to be put down in healthy soil to grow a person.
With all of this being said, this common basis can be used as a source of power and unity for all women everywhere - for both love and comfort, as well as concerns and motivations for the preservation of our earth. The feeling of connectedness can be a powerful thing: when planting seeds, imagine how farmers everywhere in the world, for hundreds of years, have done the same thing: parting the soil with their hands, watering the seeds, watching the seedlings grow into something strong and powerful. Even when breathing fresh air - be still for a moment and imagine how many women everywhere on the planet, are doing the same right this second. And together, in unity, we can recognise our power and bring change.
Our International Women’s Day
This International Women’s Day, we wanted to do exactly this - celebrate women for the powerful beings they are, especially when overlooked and under appreciated so often, and even more so recognise their connection to Mother Nature in the very foundation of their being. We want to look at the endless cycle of recreation and creation that both women and trees offer to the world, by giving and supporting different forms of life.
With our projects in socially and environmentally disadvantaged regions in the southern hemisphere, we are looking to not only solve environmental issues and improve the conditions of nature, but also to empower the people living in these conditions. And especially because women are oftentimes even more disadvantaged than their male counterparts, our work with NGOs ensures the empowerment and inclusion of women is an important pillar of our mission.
Only if we fight these problems on all levels can long-term, sustainable change be achieved. So in order to combat global warming, which is one the the earth’s largest current threats, we must recognise systematic disadvantages and strive for a more inclusive, equal society worldwide. Solving one problem won’t automatically solve the other, ever. The interconnectedness of many environmental and social problems (resulting in economic issues) was one of the main reasons the Treedom founders, Tommaso and Federico, wanted to create our social business, basing it on these various factors: planting trees that would not only fight the one problem of climate change, but tackle it at its roots: with added social benefits and comprehensive, holistic plans of reforestation - in areas of need, and with measures of long-term improvement.
So this International Women’s Day, you can do your part - and plant a tree that will be dedicated to a woman in your life, as well as to Mother Earth.
(1) Ukert, F. A., Die Amazonen (Abhandlungen der philosophisch-philologischen Classe der Königlich Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1849), 63.
(2) Adler (2006), p. 196 (italics so in original; p. 196 n. 20 citing Markale, Jean, Women of the Celts (London: Gordon Cremonesi, 1975)).