International Women’s Day: Working Harder for Gender Equality

Sacha Mlynek March 6, 2014 1

Today we join the people of the world in celebration of the progress made for women’s rights, empowerment, and equality. As we celebrate the 106th annual International Women’s Day this Saturday, March 8th, we recommit ourselves to working harder for gender equality, together as women, men, youth, and leaders of nations, communities, religion, and industry.

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a way to applaud and recognize women around the world who contribute – whether it be through teaching or by doing – to the dialogue of gender equality. It’s not just a day to recognize a gender, but to look back and shine a light on the incredible history of the fight for gender equality; a day to remind us to continue to ask pertinent questions and to celebrate the freedoms that have been won.

Today, we’ll take a look at how the Planeterra Foundation works to contribute to the empowerment of women around the world and applaud some of these accomplishments, successes, and triumphs – all a testament to the progress women are making right now around the world.

Taking stock

Peru is a travellers dream: beautiful landscapes, the mythology of the Incas, and a culture firmly rooted in its history. The Peru Women’s Weaving Co-op was created in an effort to keep these histories and traditions alive. With a community centre housing looms and sewing machines, the Ccaccaccollo community in the Sacred Valley has been able to restore the somewhat lost tradition of weaving. Now, most G Adventures groups exploring Peru stop here to see how these textiles are made and to see this amazing community flourish.

Members of the Ccaccaccollo Community in the Sacred Valley, Peru.

Members of the Ccaccaccollo Community in the Sacred Valley, Peru.

In Egypt, Planeterra has partnered with a project located in Beshlaw, near Luxor, to support the Egypt Women’s Sewing Cooperative. Empowered by work they can perform out of their own homes while caring for their children, these women also work to give back to the community of Beshlaw; as a portion of their earnings supports many other projects promoting local health and education.

The Women's Sewing Cooperative in Egypt.

The Women’s Sewing Cooperative in Egypt.

In Tanzania, Planeterra is providing aid to reduce air pollution caused by traditional cooking practices. The Maasai Clean Cookstoves Project seeks to provide 100 clean cookstoves in villages throughout the Maasai region, removing a major health risk to families and, most particularly, the women who cook meals.

Cookstove sign-up in the Masaai, Tanzania.

Cookstove sign-up in the Masaai, Tanzania.

From the kitchen to the office

And what of the women who want to build a business? The Tanzania Women’s Cooperative provides an opportunity for women to attend a business school in order to hone their skills in the hospitality industry. Each morning in downtown Moshi, a group of women gather together to learn and become self-sufficient.

Morning classes at the Tanzania Women’s Cooperative in Moshi, Tanzania.

Morning classes at the Tanzania Women’s Cooperative in Moshi, Tanzania.

An estimated 30,000 Nepali women and girls are tricked, coerced, abducted or willingly sold by their families into sexual slavery or forced labour. ‘Sisterhood of Survivors‘, a Planeterra-supported initiative and G Project winner, provides on-the-job training in the hospitality industry with a full-time English tutor for women survivors of trafficking.

Dignity returned to this group of paralegals at the SANSANE project in Kathmandu, Nepal

Dignity returned to this group of paralegals at the SANSANE project in Kathmandu, Nepal

Global recognition

What began as a conference in support of gender equality in 1977, IWD is now recognized by the United Nations as they continue to monitor the evolution of global gender equality. This year’s theme: “Equality for Women is Progress for All.” That’s something that all of us, women and men together, can stand behind not just this year, but going forward.

One Comment »

  1. Lorian F March 8, 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this article on Int”l women’s day. It is encouraging to see how women in other places are suceeding.

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