Exactly two years ago I was in Cuba, and it was International Women’s Day. Everywhere we went we were greeted with, “Congratulations”. It had to be explained to us what we were being congratulated for. I don’t remember it being discussed in the United States. Until now. And I find the comparison interesting. Cuba is still a communist country. There is healthcare for all, to a point. There is education for all. To a point. There is a burgeoning freedom of speech, but people still kept hushed on certain subjects. There was little internet. Conflicting opinions were told face to face or behind closed doors. Here this democratic land, in which we have so many choices and privileges, is awash with conflicting opinions. The belittling rage I see on Facebook confounds me and saddens me. I wish I understood the rage over women wearing a certain kind of hat. Or understood calling someone ignorant. And I don’t understand a protest being discredited as an elite action when it is clearly known that the reality is that many women must work. The fact that many women work for lower wages, in more menial task jobs and are a more vulnerable working force continues to be an issue. That is true in this country. And it is true around the world. The seeming prideful tirades of women on both sides appears to be a luxury we can’t afford. We can speak with compassion. On this International Women’s Day, in these United States, it is my hope that we can listen. It is my hope that we see issues of healthcare, and wage equality and equal opportunity with the same eyes. And to that I’d say, Congratulations.