To hope and new possibilities… “As we’ve seen with the horrific experience of jelly babies, sometimes, women give birth to the traumas they’ve experienced. And sometimes, if given support (and even sometimes without it) they give birth to a new life, to fresh possibilities. For this International Women’s Day, I celebrate the resilience and strength of our Marshallese women.”

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

*originally published on The Elders website to coincide with a blog post by Mary Robinson, former Ireland president and climate activist, for International Women’s Day. 

Here in the Marshall Islands, International Women’s Day immediately follows a national holiday. On March 1, Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day commemorates the legacy of US nuclear testing on our islands. As these two events collide, I find myself wrestling with connections between gender, international power, nuclear legacies, climate change, and lost land.

From 1946 to 1968, 67 nuclear weapons were detonated, which is the equivalent of 1.7 Hiroshima bombs being exploded daily for 12 years in terms of radiation exposure. Just the Bravo shot alone, a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb, was 1,000 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.

Women disproportionally bear the burden of the trauma their society has been exposed to – in this case, they bear the burden…

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