March 8 is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate the gains women are making in their struggle for equality, peace and development. It’s also a day to inspire us to continually work for a future filled with hope and opportunity for women and girls.
Many women and girls around the world live in poverty. They live in places where they do not have access to education or fair credit. They live in places where they do not have control over the decisions made about their health and wellbeing. They face persistent food insecurity, inequality and discrimination.
Too often these limitations prevent women from making a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of those around them.
Inspiring Change is the 2014 theme for International Women’s Day.
It encourages us to advocate for women’s advancement everywhere in every way. It calls for challenging the status quo for women’s equality and vigilance in inspiring positive change.
Together we can inspire action here in Canada and support women around the world as they inspire change in their own communities.
Through Presbyterian World Service & Development, our church is actively supporting programs that benefit women. With this help women are realizing their potential, achieving economic independence and advocating for their rights.
Below are a few examples of how PWS&D is inspiring change:
- In Malawi, Guatemala, Mozambique and India vulnerable and marginalized women are being empowered to transform small loans and savings into promising futures. Women are supported as they form self-help groups and receive literacy, business and vocational training to build sustainable livelihoods.
- In Afghanistan, girls are realizing their dreams. In a region where girls have been ignored for far too long, PWS&D is working with local partners to train teachers and raise awareness and support for girls’ education. Since 2009, enrolment has increased by over 5,400 girls.
- In Ghana, women accused of witchcraft are being reunited with their families after years of exclusion. PWS&D is working with communities to build awareness of human rights, mental illness and other health issues that are mistakenly attributed to witchcraft, in order to protect women against allegations and pave the way for others to return home. Between July and December 2013, nine women were successful reunited with their families.
- In Malawi and Afghanistan, child and maternal health programs and health services for women are being strengthened and women are making informed decisions that will improve their health, wellbeing and quality of life.
Help remember the struggle of women and ensure women continue to inspire change by recognizing International Women’s Day with your congregation.