The post-New York blahs

By Ruth Limkin

I’ve been in a New York state of mind. My fourth visit to the city for a recent holiday was as wonderful as the first three times. It’s a captivating city even with it’s concrete overload and it’s consumerist obsession, because it’s cultural richness is vast indeed.

I’ve been back in Australia for a few days, yet still fortunate enough to be on holidays. So this morning, as I looked ahead at my options for the day, they seemed distinctly bland.

No catching the subway to Times Square for a hotdog or a pretzel. No strolling through the East Village and popping into the wonderful little corner deli for a freshly cooked Philly Cheesesteak at literally anytime of day or night. No shopping in Soho or strolling along Fifth Avenue, gazing at the window of Harry Winston. No New York.

The post-New York blahs hovered as I considered my options.

Then, I realised that even having options to consider makes me a most fortunate woman.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women is meeting in New York this week. Some of the global statistics they reveal are as follows:

  • 70 percent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion extremely poor are living in rural areas.
  • In 2010, 925 million people were chronically hungry, of whom 60 percent were women.
  • An estimated two-thirds of the 400 million poor livestock keepers worldwide are women.
  • The burden of unpaid care work is substantial. Globally there are: 884 million people without safe drinking water; 1.6 billion people without reliable sources of energy; 1 billion people who lack access to roads; 2.6 billion people without satisfactory sanitation facilities; and, 2.7 billion people who rely on open fires and traditional cooking stoves. Rural women carry most of the unpaid work burden due to lack of infrastructure and services.
  • In rural areas of the developing world excluding China, 45 percent of women aged 20-24 were married or in union before the age of 18, compared to 22 percent of urban women.

Many women live without options, and live under the oppression of poverty and injustice.

It behoves those of us with options to neither resent them, nor squander them, but rather to live them out fully and gratefully, each and every day.

Perhaps, as we do that, we’ll find a way to create options for other women in our world.