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"...there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women"--Kofi Annan

08 March 2013 - by YMCA International
Hey! My names Veronica and I just recently began volunteering with the YMCA Greater Toronto (GTA) International program. Currently I am studying in an International Development Post-Graduate program, where I have the opportunity to study a range of issues in the realm of development and humanitarian assistance. The YMCA GTA has made Human Rights a 2013 theme, and in celebration of International Women's Day (IWD) I would love to talk about some issues I am passionate about! International Women's Day has existed since 1917, and has been gaining global momentum ever since. Today many countries such as Afghanistan, Cambodia, Cuba, Uganda and Russia, International Women's day is a National Holiday, in other countries IWD has become a recognized calender event.

Globally, strides towards making womens rights a priority issue can be; gender equality has become an intrinsic component of humanitarian assistance and international development around the world and yet in some places equality is still very far away.

I believe that women being undervalued is at the heart of many world issues, and that it is necessary for women to have equal opportunities in order for families, communities and countries to flourish and grow. Imagine if instead of being seen as "property," women and girls were seen as valuable resources. If women and girls were given the capacity to manage their resources, personal or otherwise, then travesties like world peace, world hunger and global peace wouldn't seem so far away. With compromised personal security, opprotunities are diminished. The security and safety of women globally needs to be an issue that we as global citizens don't take lightly, it is our responsibility to ask more questions. A scary reality I keep reading over and over again is this idea that "it's now more dangerous to be a woman than a soldier in modern conflict," Major General Patrick Cammaert.

Things to think about

Women are responsible for approximately 66% of the world work, 50% of global food production, earn only 10% of the income and only 1% of the property. I have a question for you..."Why are more women globally living below the poverty line then men"?

Did you know that in many developing countries women between the ages of 15-24 years old are six times more likely to be infected with HIV/AIDS then men. Take a moment to ask yourself, "Why are more women than men at risk of contracting HIV"?

For more information on how women's oppression can be turned into opportunities check out the Half The Sky movement online, or have a look at the book!




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