Women of the World: United in the fight for gender equality

Women of the World: United in the fight for gender equality

“I don’t need to tell you that women are an incredible force for change in the world” says Gayle Smith, ONE supporter & Administrator at USAID, “and our influence is growing.”

But this is something we shouldn’t take for granted.

Around the world, the movement to empower women and girls is growing. From brave activists demanding basic education for all to policy-makers changing laws that block women’s rights to land and property and access to paid work.

We have achieved so much already but there’s still a long way to go. Nowhere on earth do women have as many opportunities as men. Nowhere. In fact, if you read our Poverty is Sexist report, you’ll learn that a shocking 155 countries still have laws that unfairly discriminate against women.

That’s why last week, five incredible women came together at the Southbank Centre in London, for a ONE-hosted panel event at the Women of the World Festival.

The Poverty is Sexist panel featured Baroness Verma, Ministerial Champion for tackling Violence Against Women & Girls Overseas, Hera Hussain, Founder of Chayn, Mor Rubinstein, Community Coordinator at Open Knowledge International, Cat Carter, Head of Humanitarian Information at Save the Children, and our very own UK Policy & Advocacy Manager, Lorriann Robinson.

These women are working tirelessly to turn the tide against extreme poverty and the factors that keep people there. They are providing platforms for those whose voices aren’t being heard and tackling the many injustices that deny women and girls access to their rights across the globe.

The first speaker was Baroness Verma. With the Global Goals being announced just last September, the Baroness spoke passionately about Global Goal 5 which aims for worldwide gender equality. As a woman working in politics, she shared our concern that around the world only 13% of members of the UK parliament are women.

Hera Hussain’s dedication to empowering women through leverage technology brought a fascinating insight into addressing the problems women face today. Her organisation Chayn has helped women around the world fight against oppression through access to information, tools and support.

Mor Rubinstein’s goal is to see enlightened societies around the world, where everyone has access to vital information and the ability to use it. She is fighting for a world where powerful institutions are comprehensible and accountable. Her message on the importance of tackling corruption came through loud and clear.

In 2015, Save the Children responded to 76 emergencies and Cat Carter is one of the incredible campaigners who fights for that to happen. Her stories of Syrian women building communities in war, refugees supporting each other, and driving change left the audience in stunned silence.

And though she couldn’t attend the panel, Gayle Smith sent a fantastic message of solidarity to the cause of empowering women and girls everywhere. She shared some of USAID‘s many global success stories and pledged her own and USAID’s commitment to the shared goal of gender equality.

“When more women work, economies grow. When countries invest in girls they see lower rates of disease and death, better nutrition and stronger communities. So as you and I both know, empowering women and girls is not only the right move, but the smart one.”

“We pledge to work with you until we get this done.”

If you want to learn more about the global fight for the empowerment of women and girls – and what you can do to make a difference:

Take a look at our Poverty is Sexist campaign and sign our letter to world leaders NOW!


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