Did you know there’s now a United Nations agency to help women and girls become more empowered, hopefully ending the gender apartheid they face in many countries? I didn’t. But there is. It’s called UN Women, and there’s a way for you to support this incredibly important work in the face of funding cuts.
If you live in a developed Western nation, you think it’s normal to see women go to school and college, vote, earn salaries, travel, marry whom they like. Yet that kind of life is the stuff of dreams for millions of women worldwide.
The facts are overwhelming, and overwhelmingly simple:
• Two-thirds of the world’s 780 million illiterate are women.
• Girls are often forbidden to attend school if their fathers perceive education as counter to religion. Or they’re needed to work at home, minding their baby siblings. Or they may attend school only three weeks of every month – their menstruation week is spent at home because they lack pads and tampons.
• Millions of girls as young as 8 are each year forced into unwanted marriages in order to pay off their fathers’ debts or to bind families closer together.
• Women work 66% of the world’s working hours, but earn just 10% of the world’s income.
• Most women have little control over whether their husbands use condoms, even if the men go to prostitutes or are in non-paid sexual relationships with other women . . . or men.
• Girls routinely receive less food and less protein than their brothers, leading to anemia, illness and death.
Equitable? Hardly. Fair and just? No way.
That’s where UN Women comes in. Recognizing that, as the saying has it, “women hold up half the sky” and that they are responsible for their children and future generations, UN Women seeks to promote women’s health and rights, and their full participation in global affairs.
Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) has a remarkable program for supporting UN Women, whose funding is shaky. You can even become a “godmother”! Just follow this link http://www.thegodmothers.org.uk/ .
Women in America have so many opportunities. With UN Women’s help, gender apartheid will recede and women elsewhere will have more autonomy more power to decide how their lives will work