International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th every year. It is a day in which women, men, girls and boys come together to celebrate, show solidarity for and recognise the dreams, aspirations and empowerment of women. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to commemorate the bravery of women in confronting injustice.
It is a day to reflect on the important gains made in addressing gender inequality, including increased legal equalities in many spheres of life, better opportunities for education and livelihood options as well as increased participation of women in decision making structures.
However, it is also a day to extend solidarity to all those girls and women who continue to be denied their rights and deprived of a life with dignity. Despite the important economic, social and political achievements made in addressing gender inequality, we still live in a world where only 15 per cent of land titles are held by women (for countries where data is available), where women are more at risk from rape and domestic violence, than from cancer, car accidents, war or malaria and where women and girls do up to ten times more care work than men.
Central to Concern’s work is a belief that we cannot address extreme poverty without addressing inequality, and fundamental to our work on addressing inequality is addressing gender inequality. Women and girls are often at a disadvantage in terms of their expected roles, their access to and control over resources and their involvement in decision making structures because of the differences between what is expected, allowed and valued for men, women, girls and boys.
Concern is committed to challenging the structures which maintain inequality within societies, in order to create a world where no-one lives in poverty, fear or oppression.
This brochure highlights many stories of change where, through the support of Concern, women and girls have increased opportunities to address their health, educational and livelihood needs. These stories show how Concern’s support has helped to build women’s confidence and how they are now respected within their communities. As a result, women are consulted and involved in decisions which affect their lives and the lives of their families. These stories show how, through the active participation of these inspirational women, they are moving out of extreme poverty and being seen as equals within their communities.
These stories demonstrate that change is possible.
Carol Wrenn and Bernadette Crawford
Equality Advisers, Concern Worldwide