My father never told me no. As a teenage girl, when I decided to become a drag racer, my father started teaching me about cars and racing. He believed in me 100% and never questioned the fact that perhaps being one of a few females in a male-dominated sport might be an issue. I remember him telling me, over the engine of my race car, “You are just as good as any man out there. Better even.”
Every year, on International Women’s Day, I tell a version of this story. A story about the belief my father had in me – as a woman – and how I should never, ever let that stand in my way.
However, most women and girls are not that privileged. About 1 billion people in the world live in poverty. Most of these are women and girls. Women and girls are the faces of poverty in the world. Not only are these women and girls living and struggling in poverty, they also have to deal with cultural and religious practices that devalue the female sex. They are denied education. They are forced into marriages. They are sexually exploited. They are victims of violence.
- It is estimated that 60% of all women have been physically or sexually abused
- Women produce half of the world’s food, but own less than 1% of property in the world
- 300,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth that is preventable
- 2/3 of the children denied education are girls
- 98% of human trafficking victims are women and girls
- 1 billion people in the world cannot read or write – 65% of these are women.
- 1 billion women will be victims of violence in their lifetime
- 1 in 9 girls is forced into marriage before their 15th birthday
These statistics are disheartening.
On International Women’s Day, Global Impact, in conjunction with CARE, World Vision, Plan USA, and ICRW are launching the Women & Girls Fund.
The Women & Girls fund is unique. It is a way for individual women, corporations, and other institutions interested in helping women and girls worldwide, come together to make the greatest impact. By donating to the Women & Girls Fund, millions of people will be able to change the world and help provide education, protection, rehabilitation, job training, healthcare, safe drinking water, and other assistance to women and girls around the world. You will be directly supporting actions to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.
Some of these resources include:
- Access to education
- job-skills training
- prenatal and early-childhood care
- micro lending opportunities
- safe drinking water and sanitation
- vaccines and lifesaving drugs
- protection and rehabilitation from violence
Global Impact’s fund, which brings these four well-known and respected charities together is revolutionary. These groups are leaders on these issues and have a common focus on making the world a better place for women and girls. They have come together to change the world.
Global Impact is 60 year old leader in helping people around the world. They partner with more than 100 major corporations and 300 public-sector entities. With these partnerships, Global Impact provides much-needed funding to more than 100 US-based international charities. Since 1956, they have donated more than $1.6 billion dollars and help an estimated 400 million people each year.
CARE is located in more than 80 countries and strives to conquer the gender inequality worldwide. CARE works to provide futures to women and girls within the communities by working to change the attitudes of community members, social and religious leaders, politicians and other organizations.
World Vision is a Christian organization that works with children, families, and communities to help individuals reach their full potential and eliminate poverty and injustice. World Vision is the largest international non-governmental organization in the world, with locations in almost 100 countries, and 45,000 staff members.
Plan USA invests in girls and their families to help provide access to clean water, food, health care, education, financial security and protection from violence and exploitation – basic human rights. They fight for girls and their future to help them overcome the overwhelming odds they face from birth.
The International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) helps identify barriers to becoming contributing members of society. These can include lack of education, HIV, violence, and many other factors. The ICRW helps develop a map, if you will, to help improve conditions for all women.
Think about this: what if one of these girls who is living in extreme poverty, abused, and denied education COULD discover the cure for cancer. Or HIV/AIDS. Or any other currently incurable diseases. She could be the next Nobel Prize winner. She could be a great writer or philosopher. She could be the key to world peace. Think about it. If she is not given the opportunity to learn, thrive, and strive for something better, we will never know what greatness she could become! We will never know what difference she could make in the world.
In celebration of International Women’s Day, I want you to join me in changing the world by investing in women and girls. Help women and girls everywhere live the lives they deserve. Help them make a difference in the world.
Make sure you join our Twitter chat on March 7th at 2 p.m. EST to learn more about International Women’s Day!! RSVP today and follow #womensdaychat!
This post is a part of a sponsored awareness program that seeks to help women and girls everywhere live healthy lives wherein they are protected, respected, educated and empowered to reach their potential. Visit www.togetherforwomen.org.