International Women's Day 2020
On International Women’s Day 2020, we want to celebrate women and talk about the importance of empowering women and promoting gender equality at all levels. #EachforEqual
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the social, economic and cultural achievements across the world. It is also a day to challenge the bias and discrimination that women face in our own societies, and highlight the opportunities that exist to strengthen women leadership and equal share in our communities. Collectively, our actions, conversations, behaviour and mindset can impact society and create an equal world.
Gender equality is a fundamental human right, but also a necessary foundation for a peaceful and prosperous world. This is reflected in the Sustainable Development Goals, with SDG5 dedicated to Gender Equality, and equality strongly factoring into in SDG3 (Health and Wellbeing), SDG4 (Quality Education) and SDG10 (Reduced Inequalities). By investing in women, we can achieve gains on the alleviation of poverty and sustainable economic growth at all levels.
In India, considerable progress has been made towards women in leadership roles and more equitable treatment in society. However, there remains room for improvement. Across India, education is still not equally attained by women, with the literacy rates only 65% for women compared to 82% for men. This is reflective of women being perceived as the homemaker, and often forgoing education after marriage. The rates of individuals in work are half that for women as they are for men, at 25% compared to 53%. For those who do work, for the same occupation and with the same education, women earn only 63% on average compared to men, and fewer than 5% of businesses are owned by women. Moreover, these statistics are only partially representative: they do not illustrate the oppression, sexual abuse and marginalisation that many women still face in their day to day lives.
At Blossom Trust, we are strongly invested in committing to the empowerment of local women. Primarily this is through community engagement and self-help groups. Our networks are women led, for women, by women. These self-help groups branch across TB, HIV/AIDs, microfinance and diabetes, giving women a support system and a platform for education and advocacy. They empower women to assume leadership roles, to support one another and strengthen their positions. Furthermore, our projects are always designed with women at the forefront. The crèche allows women and young mothers to be economically independent, and our recent project with Freedom Cups provided the education and materials for safe, hygienic and convenient menstrual management. We believe that by providing the support services and frameworks, we can build strong women led collectives in our community to empower a lasting change in attitudes and livelihoods.
We also practice what we preach. As an organisation, Blossom also has numerous women who are not only dedicated to empowering the women in the local communities but also contribute to gender equality at the subnational, national and international levels. Our team is largely women run, from our Field Officer M. Muthulakshmi to the Director, Mercy Annapoorani.
To mark the occasion, we attended a local college on March 8th, where our Director Mercy spoke to an audience of over 200 students about International Women’s Day. She spoke about how women should be given a voice, have equal representation and be given a platform to express their opinions. She also spoke about how women should be given equal opportunities to study and work, and be elected into leadership and decision-making roles. This was well received in our audience, with people greeting one-another with “Happy Women’s Day!” We then distributed flyers, written both in Tamil and English, and gave out pink ribbon to the girls as a sign of solidarity.
Gender equality is essential for economies and communities to thrive. Women empowerment is synonymous with development, with prosperity and growth. We hope that by continually raising awareness, speaking out and giving a voice to the voiceless, we will begin to see a change in attitudes and strengthen the women of India. #EachforEqual
Project duration: March 8th, 2020