Last week in the lead up to International Women’s Day (March 8), I looked at some current article’s surrounding the issue of women “having it all“. The discussion both online and in the real world for me was amazing. To listen to other women’s experiences and views on this issue was refreshing and invigorating. I think there was some general agreement that as women we can now make a choice as to what we want to make of our lives.
And how much more fortunate are we here in Australia, to have this choice than our counterparts in other parts of the world. The following stats made for quite sobering reading:
Women in Sub-Saharan Africa are more than 1.5 times as likely as men to contract HIV.
Millions of women in America have difficulty understanding practical health information.
More than 10,000 girls a day will get married before they turn 15.
More than 60% of the 110 million children out of school are girls.
One in three women and girls in the developing world live on less than $2 a day.
This information comes from World Education, which is a non government organization that aims to improve the lives of the poor through economic and social development programs. World Education has a specific Girls and Women’s Education Initiative which includes a number of different programs all with the aim to empower girls and women in the developing world through education. Education is critical in turning the above stats around as:
“Educated girls and women are less vulnerable to HIV infection, human trafficking and other forms of exploitation, are more likely to marry later, raise fewer children who are more likely to go to school, and make important contributions to family income.”
International Women’s Day is a celebration for women of past achievements, current progress and about future possibilities. For me it is also a time to reflect on those girls and women who have yet to attain a safe, independent and poverty free existence. Education is the key in ensuring that sustained change is made for these women.
Enjoy International Women’s Day where ever you may be.