Celebrating & Empowering Women in Cameroon and Around the World

By Tammy Leland, Crooked Trails Co-founder

international womens dayAs a girl growing up in the United States, I never celebrated International Women’s Day. I never actually even knew about it. I had always been very independent, walking through life without fear and never afraid to go after what I wanted. When I first heard about it, I figured it was just another silly Hallmark holiday.

In 2009 I married a man from Cameroon, Africa. At Christmastime I urged him to call his family and send home gifts. He did it, but without the big hoopla that we make here in America. On March 8th, he was insistent that I call his mother, his sister, and his niece to wish them well with their women’s march and to send money to support their efforts in advancement of women’s rights. I was curious about how he shrugged off Christmas but not March 8th, a day that didn’t mean anything to me. I asked him what was the biggest holiday in Cameroon. He did not hesitate to say, “International Women’s Day!”

Later, I learned that International Women’s Day was started in the early 1900s in the U.S. and that it was more of a political rally for women’s rights than a celebration of women’s accomplishments. From the time it all started to the time I was born, women had made huge strides toward women’s rights and were advancing in areas all around me. Their efforts meant that I never had to question whether I was going to achieve greatness – I just knew I would. But thousands of miles away in Cameroon, women were still struggling to be heard, to fight for equality and to be given the right to achieve greatness.

I now celebrate International Women’s Day with the biggest of events, celebrating women all over the world for the many gifts and talents they bring, and have never forgotten the women who came before me that made me believe that anything is possible.

This year in Seattle we are celebrating women in music and beer, two things very dear to me. On March 24th, in honor of International Women’s Day and as a fundraiser to build a sustainable coffee house in Cameroon that is 100% philanthropic and will support women’s health and education, women and men will come together, drink beer created by women, and listen to the music of three powerful female artists.

CLICK HERE to learn more about the event and pre-register; tickets are limited!

So, I lift a glass to all of you women out there who made me believe that anything is possible.  Cheers and thank you!

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