This International Women’s Day we invite everybody to #choosetochallenge gender bias and inequality just as the amazing women who have stood before us have done. Despite it being a year since lockdown started across India, COVID-19’s ongoing impact still lays heavily on the local communities particularly on those in rural communities. With the current social distancing restrictions, many people have either been unable to work or their business has halved with statistics showing the labour force shrinking by 13% for women and 2% for men which only further stresses the importance of addressing the inherent disparities women have encountered for years.
At Blossom, we are committed to changing the narrative from women as disadvantaged to women as the pillars of development. Therefore our current work is creating that space in which our women are at the core of building resilience within their communities. To mark this day, we want to recognise the numerous women who have made our work possible and continue to challenge the patriarchal systems and entrenched gender norms paving the way for the next generation of women through the strengthening of social support networks between one another and providing a platform for advocacy and capacity building. Which in turn leads to healthier, financially secure, environmentally sustainable and inclusive communities.
To mark the occasion, we visited two villages, Puthupatti and Mavade, situated around the Virudhunagar district on March 8th. There, we met with the women from our Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and our Director, Mercy Annaporani gave a talk commemorating the accomplishments our SHGs have achieved over the years and continue to dedicate themselves to. She spoke about how the womens’ choices to challenge the discrimination especially within the labour force including the agricultural sector has created supportive female networks more economic resilience and support towards one another.
Having these talks amongst the community is integral not just to acknowledge the generations of women that have strenuously advocated and worked for the equal right of women but reinforces the importance of gender equality. Gender equality is not only essential for the livelihood of women but it’s vital for the thriving of communities, economies, quality healthcare and accessibility to education. We hope that by continuing to raise awareness, empowering others to have their voice, collectively we can all support the way towards creating an inclusive world.
“From challenge comes change, so let’s all choose to challenge.”