Be Bold for Change: Curamericas Invites You to Celebrate International Women’s Day
Posted: March 6, 2017
Be bold for change.
That’s what the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is asking of us. Women around the world, in both developing and developed countries, face many obstacles that obscure their opportunities for education, careers, leadership, and even basic human rights. This is a message to all to do more. When some members of society are kept from achieving their full potential everyone is affected; we are all stakeholders.
The empowerment of women is something we believe in and value here at Curamericas Global. In the communities where we work, women often receive less education, have less autonomy, and are considered less valuable than their male counterparts. Curamericas Global understands that women play a crucial role in the well-being of their communities, and utilizes their skills and knowledge to create sustainable change.
Women are the powerhouses of our projects.
At our Guatemala project, local women make up a significant majority of the staff and health volunteers. Their hard work and dedication have been the driving force in the success and sustainability of the project. The increased level of involvement from the local women in these initiatives is evident as having been beneficial to both themselves and their communities.
Traditionally, in rural Guatemala women are relegated to roles that are relatively small and uninvolved due to norms and social stigma as well as pressure from their husbands. Research has shown that women are empowered when they have the opportunity to improve their communities. Through their work they have become leaders in their communities and their households. Being the facilitators of this change has encouraged many to further seek out education and involvement within their communities, something that they previously shied away from due to fear of being ridiculed by others. One woman in Temux Chiquito noted that “Before, there hadn’t been opportunities for women, but nowadays all that has now changed, although there still exists the fear of being discriminated against.” Men have become more open to empowering women, seeing how it has improved the quality of life within their communities1.
We often have to start at the ground level and work to expand outward, but the continual sharing of knowledge and experience goes a long way in the process of making change a reality. Despite a history of subjugation and disempowerment, these women have been instrumental in paving the way for better health and opportunities in their communities. This year’s message for International Women’s Day, “be bold for change,” is not all that different from the work they have done.
Your actions matter.
Everyone can play a meaningful role in enacting positive change. Seemingly small actions add up in making greater change, especially when you can educate and inspire others to do the same. Several ways International Women’s Day is encouraging us to be bold and take greater action in our day-to-day lives are:
- Challenge bias and inequality: Don’t be afraid to raise your voice when the exclusion or discrimination of women is obvious. Challenge stereotypes and embrace inclusive leadership. We can all work towards changing the status quo.
- Speak out against violence: Be vigilant and unafraid to report actions of violence. Challenge those who justify perpetrators and place the blame on the victims. Educate youth about the value of positive relationships.
- Forge the path of women’s advancement: Make efforts to create opportunities for women. Invite women into situations where they are not already present and contributing, and work to build conductive, flexible work environments in doing so. Support companies that are progressive towards the employment of women.
- Celebrate the achievements of women: Hail the success and triumphs of women. Be a driving force in the recognition and credit for the contributions of women.
- Be a champion for women’s education: Understand and spread awareness about the value diversity has on greater educational outcomes. Encourage the education and careers of girls, especially in fields where there may be under-representation like in STEM. Support and celebrate women inventors of new products and services, as well as the contributions of women researchers2.
As of now, it is predicted that the gender gap will not be completely eliminated until year 21863. That is far too long to wait. As part of Curamericas Global’s mission is to empower mothers in underserved communities with the knowledge, skills, and services to create healthy lives for themselves and their families, your support helps us to sooner realize gender parity worldwide by aiding in the empowerment and advancement of women worldwide.
There is no doubt that there is still much to be done, as well as more actions that we can all take in our lives to eliminate the barriers that preclude the contributions of women and inclusivity of the world. Let’s make International Women’s Day, and every day for that matter, a driving force in closing the gender gap worldwide. We can all do more in our own ways to help make this goal a reality sooner. Let’s make an effort to be bold for change.
Article by Nat Mansfield, Curamericas Global Marketing & Development Intern
1 Stollak, I., Antonio Diaz, L., & Valdez, M. (2015, October). Operational Research on Women’s Empowerment. . Retrieved from https://www.curamericas.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Appendix-8-Operational-Research-on-Womens-Empowerment.pdf
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