Generation 4 Equality is a platform for youth to get information, ask questions, and connect with others who are working hard for gender equality.Traditional Knowledge
Gender inequality can sometimes feel like a forest fire—it’s tough to put out and causes a lot of damage. But, with enough drops of water, even the biggest fire can be put out. Our everyday actions as youth leaders for gender equality are those drops of water!
As with Dukdukdiya in the burning forest and the hummingbirds that populate the stories and parables of many peoples, it’s not necessarily the largest, most courageous, or loudest animal that can do the most good or have the greatest influence. Those who are not afraid to act, and who are aware of what is at stake, can make the biggest difference.
The terrible fire raged and burned. All of the animals were afraid and fled from their homes. The elephant and the tiger, the beaver and the bear all ran, and above them the birds flew in a panic. They huddled at the edge of the forest and watched.
All of the creatures gathered, except one.
Only Dukdukdiya (pronounced dʊək ˈdʊək dɪːə), the little hummingbird, would not abandon the forest. Dukdukdiya flew quickly to the stream. She picked up a single drop of water in her beak. Dukdukdiya flew back and dropped the water on the fire. Again, she flew to the stream and brought back another drop, and so she continued—back and forth, back and forth.
The other animals watched Dukdukdiya’s tiny body fly against the enormous fire, and they were frightened. They called out to the little hummingbird, warning her of the dangers of the smoke and the heat. “What can I do?” sobbed the rabbit. “This fire is much too hot.” “There is too much smoke!” howled the wolf. “My wings will burn! My beak is too small!” cried the owl. But the little hummingbird persisted. She flew to and fro, picking up more water and dropping it, bead by bead, onto the burning forest.
Finally, the big bear said, “Little Dukdukdiya, what are you doing?”
Without stopping, Dukdukdiya looked down at all of the animals.
She said, “I am doing what I can.”
—excerpt from Flight of the Hummingbird by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas