Today, is international women’s day! A day where we take time to celebrate the women and men who strive for equal measure. On this day we pay tribute to not only how far we have come, but how far we still have to go.
International Women’s Day has been observed since in the early 1900’s, a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. Since its birth in the socialist movement, International Women’s Day has grown to become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries alike. For decades, IWD has grown from strength to strength annually. For many years the United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women’s rights and participation in social, political and economic processes.
“Across the region, men and women have pressed bravely and unequivocally for social justice, dignity, and a say in the decisions that shape their lives. Their progress toward these goals will move only as fast as their progress in empowering women.” – Amat Al Alim Alsoswa – UNDP Director of the Regional Bureau for Arab States”
Last year our IWD themematically connected to “equal access to education, training, science and technology.” This year, our 2012 theme focuses on “empowering rural women – end hunger and poverty.” It is critical that we continue to raise awareness and support for women globally. It is the sole reason why I have dedicated my time, energy and resources to raising funds and the understanding behind rural women and the challenges they face. Today marks 365 days of my 365 challenge; which I then extended to 439 days!
In the” UN Women’s Report: Facts & Figures: Rural Women & the MGDs”:
“Faced with a lack of services and infrastructure, rural women carry a great part of the burden of providing water and fuel for their households. In rural areas of Guinea, for example, women spend more than twice as much time fetching wood and water per week than men, while in Malawi they spend over eight times more than men on the same tasks. Girls in rural Malawi also spend over three times more time than boys fetching wood and water. Collectively, women from Sub-Saharan Africa spend about 40 billion hours a year collecting water.”
CARE Canada and the Walk In Her Shoes Campaign asks Canadians to challenge themselves and walk 6km or 8,000 steps per day for 8 days! This year I am asking Vancouverites to not only walk or run 6km with me on May 20th (our Vancouver WIHS event), but to spend the next roughly 3 months connecting with us online (facebook and this blog) to learn and understand the complexities women and girls still face day to day.
FAST FACTS: RURAL WOMEN AND THE MDGs
- Rwanda has 56% women parliamentarians – a world record!
- Almost 70 percent of employed women in South Asia and more than 60 percent of employed women in Sub-Saharan Africa work in agriculture
- On average, women make up about 43 percent of the agricultural labour force in developing countries.
- Evidence indicates that if these women had the same access to productive resources as men, they could increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 percent, raising total agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5 to 4 percent, in turn reducing the number of hungry people in the world by 12 to 17 percent.
- In Pakistan, a half-kilometre increase in the distance to school decreases girls’ enrolment by 20 percent
- An extra year of primary school increases girls’ eventual wages by 10-20 percent, encourages girls to marry later and have fewer children, and makes them less likely to experience violence.
- 875 million people are illiterate in the bottom billion. Two-thrids are women, because of inadequate access to education in rural areas.
- Between 1990 and 2009, all the regions of the world saw a significant decrease in under-five mortality rates, with some developing regions reaching or approaching 2015 targets.
These are just a few of the facts when it comes to establishing equal rights for women and girls. Rural women face more challenges than urban women, simply because of being too far from water, school, health care and basic life essentials. This is where the most works needs to be done, as well as, where the greatest opportunity and potential stem from. Women are our untapped resource!
Please stand in solidarity with women around the world by taking action and attending one of our many events between now and May 20th.
SAVE THE DATE: March 12th @ 7pm – 9pm. Join us for an intimate screening of “Women Empowered” 4 short documentaries, which chroncile 4 women who have pioneered change in their communities. @Buddha-Full Juice & Smoothies 106 West 1st Street, N.V
SAVE THE DATE: May 18 @ 7pm- 10pm @ Denman Cinemas. Join us for a movie night and panel discussion. This event will be the pre event warm up and pep ralley for our May 20th 101km. See all 4 short documentaries, engage with our speaker panel, and network in the “market” (aka lobby) and don’t forget the silent auction and draw prizes.
101KM WALK IN HER SHOES EVENT: from 6am – 9pm, Join me on our 101km route, divided into 8 legs (8 districts) with 6km, 12km, 24km and 42km markers! Choose your mileage, choose your district and start fundraising! www.care.ca
I hope all of you had a wonderful International Women’s Day and I hope to see you our on May 20th!