A Celebration for All (originally posted By Susanna Matters, UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador and Camps Kenya Gapper))
March 9th, 2012 by Dipesh
This was originally posted by By Susanna Matters, UNICEF Australia Young Ambassador on the UNICEF website http://www.unicef.org.au/Discover/Blog/March-2012/A-celebration-for-all.aspx
We are very proud to know Susanna and how the work she put into her stay at Camp Kenya has affected her work and ours. To celebrate International Women’s day the 8th March in her role as young ambassador she has written this blog.
How come there isn’t International Men’s Day? It’s the question that relentlessly pursues me whenever I pin on my purple ribbon on 8th March. It can be jocular, whingey, dismissive or indignant, but somehow regardless of its tenor, that question dominates my life each year on International Women’s Day. I’ve tried responding with a patient but bemused smile. I’ve also tried pulling out my top ten statistics on the economic status of women around the world, quoting world leaders and deflecting it with a hasty ‘Is that really the point though?’ So this year, as a Young Ambassador, I’m trying this new response.
As an organisation dedicated to acting in the best interests of children, UNICEF Australia recognises International Women’s Day as being of tremendous importance for girls. It’s a day when our attention is drawn to the untapped potential of the women who make up seventy per cent of the world’s citizens living in poverty. We are also reminded that a staggering seventy per cent of the world’s children out of school are girls. As we celebrate inspirational women, a spot-light is simultaneously turned on the need to prepare girls to take on more decision-making positions. Why isn’t there an International Men’s Day? Well, it’s because it is girls who are disproportionately affected by humanitarian issues around the world.
This year, International Women’s Day pays particular attention to the livelihoods of women in rural areas with the theme Empower rural women: End hunger and poverty. In her statement for International Women’s Day, Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director UN Women said, “Nowhere are disparities and barriers greater than in rural areas for women and girls”. These words came to life for me on a recent trip to Kenya where I spent time teaching in two rural village schools. Both schools were tackling girls’ school attendance through improving the provision of toilets and sanitary pads. These practical measures are a clear-cut acknowledgement of the additional participatory challenges that rural girls face, just because they are girls. Together, we must work towards the empowerment of women by providing for girls.
We’ve got a lot to think about today celebrating the special women and girls in our lives. But let’s also take time to remember our commitment to the third UN Millennium Development Goal – promote gender equality and empower women. International Women’s Day is not about ignoring half the world’s population. It’s about communities (yes, that’s men and women) pausing to consider the potential of girls and planning ways to maximise their participation in educational, vocational and decision-making opportunities. International Women’s Day is a time to invest in the women of tomorrow. Please do take part.
Interested in International Women’s Day and its connection to global development? Read more athttp://www.unwomen.org.au
To find out how Camps International have taken Susanna’s advice on board and are now involved in fundraising for projects to improve the education of women in our communities read more here.