International Women’s Day: girls and women – where to from here?

Here we go again, it is International Women’s Day 2016. A great day to celebrate women’s achievements and their place in the world. If you are a man, cherish the women in your life. If you are a woman and lucky enough to live in circumstances that allow you to kick back and relax, do whatever makes you feel good – and yes, I know it is Monday, but what the heck! We deserve it :)

250 million girls live in poverty worldwide

But before we do, let’s spare a thought or two for the 250 million girls who live in poverty at this moment and consider what we can – no must – do to alleviate poverty. And yes, although you and I might not personally experience it and find it hard to imagine, there is still a large gender gap to be closed on many levels.

Why invest in girls? Because it is proven that when you invest in girls it is good for everybody. It makes so much sense. It is not altruism or just the right thing to do.  It is not a luxury but a necessity.

often girls outperform boys in school

When we are thinking of a woman’s plight here in Australia we don’t think of disadvantage.  Many girls outperform boys in school these days. While this fact doesn’t translate into equal numbers in leadership roles, it nevertheless is evidence of the capability of women and their potential to contribute on an equal footing with men, if not outperform them in some areas.

And yet, the reality is that only 2 cents in every aid dollar is invested in adolescent girls. That makes no sense at all.  At least one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals calls on all countries to ” 5) Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” The Un Women’s theme for International Women’s Day is Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality and how to accelerate the 2030 agenda.

Let’s do what we can to close the gender gap

  1. Grant-makers and influencers everywhere, whether in Government, civil society or private – put the well-being of girls front stage as the one overarching issue and it will improve the results of your activities and benefit society at large.
  2. On a personal level, do what we can to support girls and women. Be kind, be supportive, mentor a girl. Don’t be a bystander to injustice against girls and women. Speak up.  It is the small things that add up to make the biggest difference.

Investing in girls could quite simply change the world, no more and no less. Particularly if we integrate sustainability into education and training everywhere.

And here is a short introduction about what girls need and a compelling video about The Girl Effect.

domestic violence against girls and women

We can’t discuss issues concerning modern women without mentioning the issue of domestic violence. The United Nations Population Fund states that worldwide one of the most prevalent human rights violations is violence against women and girls and that “one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime.” That’s appalling and points to underlying issues with aggression and violence which of course, require a different approach but are related to the plight of girls – we need to create a safe and peaceful environment in addition to providing education and employment.

positive change for girls and women = everybody :)

You can stop-by my other International Women’s Day articles below and as always I appreciate your thoughts so if you would like to exchange ideas don’t be afraid to comment!

Other ways to connect and raise consciousness on International Women’s Day 2016: