All posts filed under: Featured Organizations

These posts are written by organizations that work directly with empowerment, health or rights of women and girls.

International Day for Maternal Health and Rights: A Call for Action

Post written by Serra Sippel and Bergen Cooper. The International Day for Maternal Health and Rights was launched in 2014 by the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE) with other global sexual and reproductive health and rights organizations with support growing every year since. On behalf of the International Day for Maternal Health and Rights Steering Committee (including the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Ibis Reproductive Health, Maternal Health Task Force, Pathfinder International, and The White Ribbon Alliance) we are calling on the United Nations to support universal, comprehensive, respectful, and rights-based maternal health by officially recognizing April 11th as International Day for Maternal Health and Rights. Maternal rights violations continue to persist and the United Nations’ recognition of this day would bring much-needed attention and funding to address health and rights challenges so many women face. Approximately 303,000 women die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth each year, and most of these deaths are preventable. Over the past decade the evidence for how women too often experience disrespect and abuse during childbirth has grown. …

The Power and Influence of Mothers-in-Law in Lesotho

We have all heard the stories of ‘monsters-in-law’ when a group of women get talking about their husbands’ mothers. Some women are blessed with mothers-in-law who treat them as respected family members, while others struggle with finding balance between two of the most important women in a man’s life. In Lesotho (southern Africa), this same dichotomy exists, but the ‘monsters-in-law’ are creating consequences far more severe than whose lasagna is preferred, or who will host Christmas dinner. When we think about achieving gender equity, many of us assume that men are holding girls and women back through patriarchal norms. But mothers-in-law are women – and they have traditionally been one of the greatest hindrances to empowering women in Lesotho. When a man and woman get married in Lesotho, it is traditional for the newlywed couple to live with the husband’s family for six months with no contact with the brides’ family. If she fails to meet her mother-in-law’s expectations, she will often be mocked and sometimes even abused. For many young women who enter into marriage …

5 Reasons Why I am Opting for Reusable Sanitary Towels

Post written by Helen Patricia Amutuhaire, Content Developer, Reach A Hand, Uganda I have finally found a solution to my menstrual challenges and it took me a total of 15 minutes. It happened at the Science Cafe hosted by the Health Journalists Network in Uganda (HEJNU) and supported by Reach A Hand, Uganda and UNFPA Uganda. Since 2015, I have been suffering from burns every month due to the use of disposable sanitary pads (towels). Perhaps it’s because my flow has reduced recently or because I am older now (23), or perhaps it’s a reaction to the gel used in the pads. Whatever the reason, the burns put me through hell because the pain is unbearable. The option of tampons is uncomfortable for me, but I still needed to use something. I am still young…these periods are here for a while! The solution became clear as we discussed menstrual hygiene at the Science Cafe. I have been hearing about reusable pads for years now but like a lot of my girlfriends, I was convinced that they are not my kind of thing.  When AFRIpads …

Tragedy to Triumph: How sewing lessons are changing the lives of women with fistula

Written by Samantha Bossalini, Development and Communications Associate  The city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania is anything but quiet. An increasingly modern metropolis overlooking the Indian Ocean, Dar is home to 4.4 million people, and is one of the fastest growing cities on the African continent. It’s a cacophony of noises, sounds, colors, and smells; ironic for a city whose name means “Place of Peace.” On one of Dar’s residential streets, however, there is a peaceful haven. Behind a stone wall sits the Mabinti Centre. The simple house hums with the sound of sewing machines.  The women working at the machines range in age from 16 to 30-years-old. They greet visitors with smiles and a warm welcome: “Karibu!” Bright kanga fabric and canvas slips beneath their whirring needles as an instructor crouches down to talk them through a difficult stitch, or to share encouragement. In the garden, ladies gather under a thatched gazebo to practice screen-printing on bolts of fabric. Some are learning to tie-dye, some to stitch tiny dolls made of beads and yarn. …

The Gender Boundaries Imposed on Children in India

Many children worldwide have grown up playing with Barbie dolls and Transformers. You can perhaps guess which children played with which toys. From the time of our birth we are taught the ways in which males and females should conduct themselves. Why does society enforce such restrictions from the moment a child is born? Too often, our society sees men as the working hand of the family and women as the caretakers of homes. Both put in equal effort and time but the work done by women is not really considered “work”. It is a common fact that working women are paid less than their male counterparts. Many parents invariably end up buying toys and clothes – pink for the girls and blue for the boys – based on prevalent and enforced gender notions. Mine did too. Why is that only girls can have pink and only boys can have blue things? Both are equally beautiful colors! So why is it that society laughs at a boy wearing a pink shirt? “Don’t lift that, it’s too heavy.” Most girls have heard something like this …

Encouraging Girls to Take on the World through Education Centres in India

Offering girls basic education is one sure way of giving them much greater power – of enabling them to make genuine choices over the kinds of lives they wish to lead. This is not a luxury. The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women establish it as a basic human right. So why is it that despite proving to be a blessing to society the girl child is – in the worst case scenario – killed in the womb, or otherwise allowed to breathe but only the air of negligence, discrimination and deprivation? Today, we’re not only proud of great women of science like Sunita Williams, or women who’ve acted as agents of change like Sarojini Naidu, or  women who’ve taught us what it means to be human like Mother Teresa, but we also encourage such people to come forward and reform our world. Why is it that even though we claim to be the biggest democracy in the world we simply cannot destroy the …

Equality Must Start Early

Blog post written by Lisa Öhman, intern at the Girl Child Platform Many of us would agree that gender equality must begin in early ages, but why is this so important? The Swedish School Inspection has now presented a report of their review of preschools’ work with equality. The purpose of this review was to see if girls and boys are given the same opportunities to try and develop abilities and interests without being limited by stereotypical gender roles. Research and investigations have previously shown that if there is a lack of a conscious equality work then stereotypical gender roles can be strengthened instead of being made visible and questioned. The conclusion of the review was that the Preschool policy on gender equality is not clear or defined, and can thus not be used effectively. It is imperative that equality is worked with consciously in preschools through a girl perspective – by which we mean that girls have limited possibilities to live a life free from discrimination and the conviction that this must change – because …

A Day in the Life of a Working Nepalese Woman

This post was written by 2016 LEADer and Women LEAD Blogger, Samika Mali Whether it is a weekday or weekend, my mom wakes up every day at 6am and sweeps the entire house. Preparing lunch every morning until 9am is a compulsion for her no matter how sick or weak she is. Then, in no time, she has to gulp down her lunch, get dressed, and rush to work. After a long day at her shop, she returns home tired and exhausted. But she doesn’t get to rest. Though her duties as a businesswoman are over, her responsibilities as a housewife have not ended yet. In the evening, she has to serve food to all her family members and do the dishes. Then, she cleans the whole kitchen. Sometimes, she even mops the floors, throw the clothes in the machine to wash, and sits down to help me with my projects. Finally, her day ends. Growing up, I saw my mother balance her life as a successful business woman in a culture where women are …

Being a Woman and an Entrepreneur in Malawi

By Mayamiko Chiwaya, Student Driven Solutions graduate, age 16 Starting a business in Malawi is not an easy thing. Most people think that once you come up with a business idea you can implement it right away, which is not always true. To start a business requires hard work and dedication. In this edition, I will share with you the challenges women and girls encounter while striving to start small businesses in Malawi. According to my investigations, the first challenge that women and girls in Malawi often meet is lack of recognition. Women and girls are not recognized as people who can develop Malawi as a country through business. It’s for this reason that they often fail to start small businesses because they are not given the chance. For example, in most banks in Malawi, women are given smaller loans than men. Pamela Banda, age 18, a successful young lady operating a shop selling fashion items once experienced this challenge when getting a loan from the bank, but still managed to get a small loan from …