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Women and children make up the majority of people in the world who live on less than $1 a day. Women are often responsible for providing for the family and keeping them healthy, yet, tragically, they often eat last and eat least. However, if this fragile population is given the chance to realize their full potential, they have the power to lift their communities and, indeed, entire countries out of poverty.

Far too often, global decisions about poverty and developing countries are made without accounting for the needs of women and girls. Without the opportunity to learn skills like reading and writing, it is nearly impossible for them to escape the cycle of poverty.

So what’s the solution?

Women Thrive Worldwide believes that the solution lies in raising women’s voices. Their staff works every day to ensure that the United States is investing in women and girls around the world and listening to what they have to say when it comes to making decisions on the global level by working with grassroots women’s organizations from Afghanistan to the Philippines to Zambia as well as dozens of other countries.

Women Thrive Worldwide purports that real change happens when women and girls are at the table and able to talk about what’s most important to them — issues such as freedom from violence, access to a quality education, and economic opportunity to lift their families out of poverty.

The organizations’s goal is to help bring the voices of women and girls around the world into discussions about the policies that impact their lives. Only then can their needs, priorities, and concerns be meaningfully addressed and effective solutions adopted to reduce poverty at the local level.

Katie Brockman

Source: Huffington Post
Photo: Women Thrive

women
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day deals with ending violence against women. So did the theme in 2009 (“Ending impunity for violence against women and girls”) and in 2007 (“Women and men united to end violence against women in girls”). While International Women’s Day can choose a theme that highlights different issues plaguing women in rural and urban areas, the UN seems to keep going back to violence against women.

Why?

Violence against women is still a huge issue across the world and looking at Zimbabwe, how large of an issue it is becomes apparent. In Zimbabwe, women may be faced with abuse from their spouses, family members, and even their children. Reported cases of domestic violence have risen from 1,940 cases in 2008 to 10,351 cases in 2011, according to AllAfrica.org. The number of domestic violence cases in 2012 are said to surpass even that number, showing that domestic violence is not going away and bringing attention to the issue, which the UN’s International Women’s Day is doing, as necessary.

Even though the country has taken great strides to end violence against women, a 2010-2011 Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey shows that 30 percent of women have experienced some form of domestic violence since the age of 15. This violence, most often, comes from the people that women should be able to trust, who are supposed to protect them. Women are asking questions now – “what has to happen for violence against women to end, what are the challenges, who will stand up and look straight in the eyes of perpetrators to say enough is enough?” – and demanding answers.

Women in Zimbabwe are using International Women’s Day to denounce all types of violence against women, and are coming together to demand answers.

– Angela Hooks 

Source: AllAfrica
Photo: AllAfrica

Stopping Violence Against Women Worldwide
In the eighth biannual forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty in Dublin, the focus is being brought to the issue of violence against women and girls in public spaces.

In Dublin, around 600 delegates gathered for the eighth forum of the World Alliance of Cities Against Poverty. Over the course of two days, February 20 and 21, leaders from the private sector and civil society met to discuss development challenges and approaches to poverty alleviation. The theme of this year’s conference was Making Cities Smart, Safe and Sustainable. Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet delivered the opening remarks and prompted a need to empower women in the pursuit of greater social and economic progress around the world.

“Violence against women in public spaces remains a largely neglected issue, with few laws or policies in place to address it,” Bachelet said.

The Under-Secretary-General advocated greater responses to violence against women. She went on to talk about the Safe Cities Global Programme launched by UN Women and UN-Habitat to address the problem of violence against women. Implemented in Egypt, Rwanda, India, Ecuador, and Papa New Guinea, and many more cities, the Safe Cities program has focused on developing a comprehensive model to prevent forms of violence against women and girls.

In Quito, the public awareness campaign Cartas de Mujeres, or “Letters from Women,” encouraged women to write letters to the city government about their experiences with violence. The 10,000 letters received prompted the amending of the ordinance eliminating violence against women to include violence in open spaces. In Port Moresby, where 55 percent of women market vendors reported experiencing some sort of violence, a market vendor association was organized to voice concerns and work with the government for a safer environment. Mapping technologies are being utilized in Rio de Janeiro to identify safety risks in ten high-risk areas around the city. UN Women is also working with Microsoft to find ways to use mobile technology as a tool to address sexual harassment and violence against women in public spaces.

Bachelet writes that as more women, men and young people voice their concerns, participate in local government, and take action for the safety of women and girls, “change happens.”

– Rafael Panlilio

Source: The GuardianUN Women