Promoting the Rights of Women Worldwide
International Women's Day 2010
International Women's Day (March 8) celebrates the progress women have made in their struggles for equality and development and also focuses on what remains to be done to ensure there is equality for all. The theme this year is "Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities: Progress for All."
At the heart of The Hunger Project's (THP's) work is the fundamental belief that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights," (Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights) and the commitment to advance the fulfillment of these rights so people can live free from hunger and poverty.
Empowering women is one of THP's three fundamental pillars. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women, build their capacity and ensure their voice is heard and influence felt, both in their own communities and more widely.
Through the Women's Empowerment Program (WEP) in Ghana, THP trains specialized animators to engage in educational activities for their communities, and, in turn, train other women in leadership skills and civic, legal and reproductive health rights. Recently, WEP animators forged a media alliance with two local language radio stations that the women use, free of charge, to educate the public on issues relating to womens' rights.
"I have become more confident after participating in the WEP training which enabled me to campaign actively during the District Assembly elections as a candidate. Although I lost the elections by a margin of only 28 votes to a man, I was not at all deterred and have even gained recognition and respect in my community. I am now involved in decision-making in my community and my views are equally respected as those of the men."
- Madam Paulina, WEP Animator, Fesi-Bame Epicenter, Ghana
In India, THP recently began a UNDP-funded project on raising awareness about India's Right to Information Act. The Act helps counter corruption and promotes accountability within panchayats (village councils). The project's special focus on elected women in panchayats is unique, and will contribute to women's full participation in grassroots democracy as aware citizens and informed representatives.
In Mexico, THP holds workshops to raise awareness about women's rights. After participating in one of THP's workshops, Raquel García Vidaña, became a catalyst (volunteer leader) in her community and mobilized them to build a clinic.
"I used to think that women were not capable. I observed that there were many needs in my community, and after that, I decided to become the Delegate [in her municipality]. In my mind, was the idea that the men would not support me; nevertheless, that idea changed when it was a man who elected me. I am the first woman Delegate and people are astonished; they congratulate me on the street. I am proud to be a woman. We, the women, can!"
- Raquel García Vidaña, Municipio of Juan Aldama, Zacatecas, Mexico
By the Numbers
In the last nine months of 2009...
- Over 50,000 village partners were trained in gender equality issues throughout our Program Countries.
- More than 4,200 women graduated from literacy classes at our epicenters in Africa.
- In Bangladesh, THP organized more than 600 gender equality awareness events, which were attended by 75,000 people.
- In India, over 5,000 elected women representatives were trained in women's leadership.
What You Can Do
- Celebrate International Women's Day with your family and friends. Find an event in your area.
- Join THP's National (US) Conference Call to hear about the impact that THP is having around the world and our plans for 2010, and find out what actions you can take now to make the most difference. Tuesday, March 9 ▪ 8:00 p.m. (EST). More event information.
- Read our Fact Sheet on Gender, Nutrition and Agriculture, co-authored with the Bread for the World Institute.
- Read our February Newsletter, which includes inspirational highlights of the significant changes that women empowered by THP are making in their lives and in their communities.
- Send an e-card to share the work of THP with your family and friends.
- Invest in THP's work to empower women.