‘That inner critic voice you hear that tells you you’re rubbish, that you’re never as good as so and so, or you’ll never be good enough to do blah, is talking bollocks. It’s lying and you should never listen to it.’– Sarah Powell
7 quotes by Kofi Annan about gender equality and why empowerment of women matters
- Strengthen girls’ access to secondary, as well as primary education. Education holds the key to unlocking most of the obstacles facing girls and women — from being forced into early marriage, to vulnerability to HIV/AIDS and other diseases.
- Guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights. How can we achieve real equality when half a million women die of pregnancy-related causes every year — causes that are entirely preventable?
- Invest in infrastructure to reduce women’s and girls’ time burdens. What are the prospects for girls and women who are forced to spend half of every day gathering water, fuel and other necessities for their families?
- Guarantee women’s and girls’ property and inheritance rights. How can women climb out of poverty without access to land and housing? And without that security, how can they protect themselves against the impact of HIV/AIDS?
- Eliminate gender inequality in employment. And a good job is also a woman’s best protection against falling prey to trafficking.
- Increase women’s share of seats in national parliaments and local government. Equality of opportunity in policy-making is not only a human right; it is a prerequisite for good governance.
- Redouble efforts to combat violence against girls and women. That means leadership in showing, by example, that when it comes to violence against women and girls, there are no grounds for tolerance and no tolerable excuses.
“Whatever the very real benefits of investing in women, the most important fact remains: women themselves have the right to live in dignity, in freedom from want and from fear.”
‘Above all, I would urge the entire international community to remember that promoting gender equality is not only women’s responsibility — it is the responsibility of all of us.
Sixty years have passed since the founders of the United Nations inscribed, on the first page of our Charter, the equal rights of men and women.
Since then, study after study has taught us that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women.
No other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality.
No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health — including the prevention of HIV/AIDS.
No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation.
And I would also venture that no policy is more important in preventing conflict, or in achieving reconciliation after a conflict has ended.
But whatever the very real benefits of investing in women, the most important fact remains: women themselves have the right to live in dignity, in freedom from want and from fear.’
Taken from United Nations, Secretary General, Kofi Annan who ‘Calls on International Community to Promote Gender Equality and Invest in Women’ – February 2005
Happy International Women’s Day! Last year I celebrated with a post about why we still need International Women’s Day. This year I’ll mark the day with a choice of awesome gifts you can give to celebrate female power.
Selfish Mother t-shirts
Selfish Mother is a brand making fabulous sweatshirts, tees and accessories stamped with power messages designed and created by Molly Gunn and various collaborations. Not only a cool addition to your wardrobe but products support a long list of amazing charities too.
My lovely friend Laura, founder of Cocoon Child bought me a Selfish Mother Y sweatshirt and popped me on her Instagram page with her gorgeous daughter Zelia.
£10 from every sale goes to Yazda, a charity that supports women from the Yazidi community in Iraq who have been through horrific abuse. I was going to add a link to Yazda charity but it seems Yazda has been shut down according to this Guardian news report, which is terrible news. As my family heritage is Iraqi I couldn’t have thought of a more fitting, thoughtful or powerful present. Whatever the charity’s situation really hope they can continue some of the work they do in Iraq in some way.
International Women’s Day t-shirts at Teespring
There are a heap of tees and bags celebrating women at Teespring, most carrying bold and beautiful messages. Some are available for a limited time only but this yellow Girl Power tshirt seems to be from a permanent range and 25% from every sale goes to Catalyst.org, a charity supporting diversity in the workplace. Healthista.com where I work is giving away a few awesome Teespring tees so enter here if you fancy your chance at winning one!
Fifty Shades of Feminism book
Another great present from a friend (thank you Charlotte), Fifty Shades of Feminism by Lisa Appignanesi, Susie Orbach and Rachel Holmes is a book full of anecdotes, opinions, musings and stories from female writers and opinion formers about feminism and women. It’s a book I always pick up when I have spare reading time and always feel inspired or moved by an extract I read. Highly recommended to give or keep!
Finally if you’re still uncertain about what feminism means or if you are a feminist check out musician and activist Annie Lennox summing it up in this quick clip with Channel 4.
“To boil it down it is about human rights, it’s about protection of women, it’s about justice, and it’s about equality.” – Annie Lennox
Let me know if you have other great gift ideas for women or International Women’s Day xx
I’ve heard this question come up and debated this year, which has made me think: Could it be that so many women feel they have won the rights to education, employment, birth control, career progression, etc and feel there’s fewer battles left to fight? If so, do we still need to mark this global awareness day?
Of course we do.
Part of International Women’s Day is about celebrating ‘the economic, political and social achievements’ of women (which is where gender equality criticisms come in: ‘what about men!’ in which case they can be directed to International Men’s Day) and then acknowledging the paths paved for us by women years before us, but it’s not just about celebrating success. It’s about highlighting injustices.
It’s about recognising the struggles of women still fighting because their battles have yet to be won. Because there are so many women who still need our support.
Natasha Walter, one of my favourite feminist writers and campaigners, said: ‘International Women’s Day is a chance for us to connect to women’s struggles in the UK and across the world‘. So true. Natasha founded Women for Refugee Women an amazing charity which campaigns to stop the unjust detention of women seeking asylum in the UK.
For every woman among us enjoying her (seemingly) equal life there are countless others living under real threat of violence, oppression, injustice and discrimination. Rape is still a weapon of war in so many countries. Even in our peaceful UK, two women a week are killed by a violent partner and one in four will experience violence from a male. I blogged about this last year, see here.
As long as there are horrific statistics like that, we will need to observe International Women’s Day and stand by their side.
Actress Thandie Newton has been blogging about #SayHerName campaign by the African American Policy Forum which is a reminder of all the women who have died under US police enforcement and promotes women’s rights in the context of racism.
Back in the UK, a massive 54% of domestic violence services have been forced to close since 2010. Save Doncaster Women’s Aid is a campaign to stop the closure of South Yorkshire’s last remaining support service in the district for sufferers (women, children and men) of domestic violence. Watch their video here, I think it’s great.
Their ‘Women’s Lives Matter’ campaign is still on so please sign the petition and pass it on!