Month: July 2013

end violence

UNICEF Launches new initiative to End Violence Against Children – Join the Movement!

Today, UNICEF launched a new global initiative to call for an end to violence against children. The tagline of the campaign, “make the invisible visible“, urges individuals, families, societies, governments and other stakeholders to recognize violence against children as a global problem, and encourages us all to join the cause to ensure that no child has to grow up under the threat or realization of violence. Many studies have shown that all over the world, across cultures and religions, accepting and complacent attitudes still prevail when it comes to corporal punishment or psychological abuse of children. This was also the finding of UNICEF’s groundbreaking report on Child Disciplinary Practices at Home, published in 2010. It might be easy to think that violence against children is not a gendered issue, as evidence clearly shows that both boys and girls experience multiple forms of violence both inside the home as well as in schools and other public spaces – and, today also in online spheres. However, the forms of violence that girls and boys face are often …


Pledge to End Violence Against Women

I was an intern with Maitri India in New Delhi, India for 6 months in the fall of 2011. I loved my experience with Maitri! I loved working with the women and I loved knowing that they were truly making an impact. The mission of Maitri is to facilitate citizenship rights, basic services, dignity, and respect for the most vulnerable populations in India. In Sanskrit, Maitri means loving-kindness, compassion and friendship. You can read more about Maitri India on their website. It is time to eliminate violence against women. Take a stand and sign this pledge to end violence against women. This pledge has gained the support of UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon and the support continues to build.    Did you see this video from Elisabeth Epstein’s recent post? Violence ends where it begins. This pledge is a way we can begin to collectively raise our voices to impact change and encourage initiative to enforce issues like violence against women.  Can we count on YOU?    Most women have or will experience violence at some point …


Can Online Videos Change the World?

Women and girls around the world are increasingly raising their voices online in an effort to enhance women’s rights.  This is a compilation of a few of our favorite recent videos. If you know of other inspirational videos, we would love for you to post them in the comments section below. On Women in Movies and Television On Child Marriage On Gender Inequality in Toys On Music On Domestic Abuse On Street Harassment On Feminism On Reproductive Health  On Women in Sports On Real Beauty On Breastfeeding

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Catapult + Chime For Change: Accelerating progress for women and girls

Catapult was launched on the first International Day of the Girl Child, on October 11, 2012, as a crowdfunding platform for projects that directly benefit women and girls around the world. Since its launch Catapult has funded projects for women and girls in gender equality, health, justice, and education, and supported projects combating gender based violence, sexism, and so much more! Through the power of social media and technology, we no longer have to stand on the sidelines, hoping that large institutions combat extreme poverty efficiently, that private corporations take their social responsibility seriously, or that grassroots movements are given the resources they need to create sustainable change. We can now learn, connect and act. Individuals, groups and civil society taking action is an essential part in creating lasting change. When we raise our voices today, we will be heard and we will connect with others, who like us, are raising their voices too. We are needed, and together we are able to create change. Through this increasing inter-connectedness we have the ability to learn …


Girls like Wadjda on Bicycles!

In Saudi Arabia in the blistering heat on April 1st, 2013, something remarkable happened for the first time in history: women were granted the right to ride bicycles in parks and recreational areas. “What’s the catch?” I hear you ask. They have to be accompanied by a male relative and dressed in the full Islamic head-to-toe abaya. Saudi Arabia follows an ultraconservative interpretation of Islam and bans women from driving. Women are also banned from riding motorcycles or bicycles in public places excluding public parks. Therefore, it begs the question is this really progress in the struggle for the human rights of women and girls? Some argue yes it is, like Saudi Film maker, Haifaa al-Mansour (who just happens to be the first female Saudi filmmaker ever!), speaking in an interview with British Newspaper the Observer she shared: I’m so happy that girls will have more opportunities to learn to ride bikes and feel the freedom and exhilaration that goes with any type of outdoor sport, and hope it helps pave the way for more and …


Sam’s Story: How One Woman’s Journey to Islam Holds an Important Lesson for Us All

Meet Sam. A young, Canadian woman constantly surrounded by friends, working toward a university degree in psychology. Sounds like a fairly average North American student, right? I would tend to agree. However, recently, Sam has taken on a very personal and spiritual endeavor, and is in the process of converting to Islam. When I first learned about Sam’s journey, I have to admit I was kind of surprised. As a young, educated woman myself, I couldn’t quite wrap my head around the idea that another woman would choose to dedicate herself to a faith under which some customs have aided in marginalizing and disempowering women. After speaking one on one with Sam, who formerly associated with Christianity and Buddhism, and who openly admits to previously disliking the idea of Islam for women, my understanding has been changed. My conversation with Sam began with some background on how her journey came to be. An extremely intelligent girl enrolled in a competitive university program, she explains she has always had a busy mind, and made the decision …

By Oxfam East Africa c/o Laura Pannack, via Wikimedia Commons

Breaking All Barriers to Girls’ Education

Friday, July 12th, was Malala Yousafazi’s 16th birthday. Last October, Malala was shot by the Taliban for speaking out for girls’ education. They failed in their attempt to silence her. On Friday, she and students from over 80 countries lead the “United Nations Youth Takeover” with a global call to action for quality education for all children. Malala herself said: One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first. Quality education for every child, every person, should be a right that all people have. Yet, 57 million children are not in school, while millions more are not getting quality education. In the days after Malala’s shooting, other families and young girls were afraid to go to school, and the classrooms remained empty. While these girls eventually went back to school, and grew in number, the terror continues. In June, a university bus carrying women teachers and students in Pakistan was bombed. But in other places around the world, these aren’t the barriers and challenges …


Artist Yuna Agostinelli Commemorates the “Mermaids of Korea”

Wherever she goes, Yuna Agostinelli captures the essence of a place through art. Whether it’s photography, drawing, painting, or even playing a song on her ukulele, she is able to impart emotion, beauty, and meaning. Although she has traveled the globe, her home, Korea, has been a central theme of her work. Her most recent endeavor has been presenting the “Mermaids of Korea.” Yuna can observe her latest subjects from her apartment window as they fish at the ocean’s shore. Although new to Jeju, being Korean, Yuna has always understood that there is a different culture on Jeju Island. The women of Jeju have a reputation for being particularly strong-willed. Various anecdotes have emerged as to why this is the case. One explanation is that Confucian values were never instilled as deeply on the island as they were in the mainland. The islanders tend to be more rebellious and liberated. One definitive reason the women of Jeju are known as “strong” is because of the Haenyo divers. The Haenyo are women who dive up to …


Human Rights Forum: What’s Faith Got to Do With It?

On June 25th-27th, top religious leaders, human rights activists and faith leaders representing more than fifteen countries and thirty-five faith-based organizations, religious bodies and universities gathered  in Atlanta, Georgia at The Carter Center. Nominated by The Carter Center, the Human Rights Defenders represent organizations who are committed to advancing rights for women around the world. Together with the UN Office of the High Commissioner, Former President Jimmy Carter hosted the annual Human Rights Forum to advance the dialogue about issues related to women’s rights and global development. President Carter is known for his long history of activism and, most recently, his membership with the esteemed group The Elders. The Elders is an independent group of global leaders working for peace and human rights. In his opening remarks, President Carter stated: I think the most pervasive and unaddressed human rights violation on earth is the abuse of women. Carter stresses the fact that violence against women contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights  a document which been signed by forty-three countries. This year, the Human Rights Forum sought to address an essential …


Malala Yousafzai: One Child, One Teacher, One Pen and One Book Can Change The World

On October 9th 2012 – less than one year ago – Malala Yousafzai, then a fifteen year old Pakistani girl, was shot by the Taliban when she was on her way to do what girls and boys her age are supposed to do – to go to school, to learn, and to get an education. For some, educating girls and women is a threat. It is a threat to the status quo, and to existing patriarchal norms and practices that place girls and women below men and boys in societies. Educating girls and women is seen as a threat for a simple reason: Because there is no single force in the world that is stronger than the power and capabilities of an educated girl. Today, on her 16th birthday, Malala stood up in the United Nations General Assembly Hall to call on governments, societies, families and individuals to deliver on their commitments and promises to the girls – and boys – around the world, and ensure that every single child has access to free and …