Here we are in 2013. You may wonder, is there really still a need for an International Women’s Day?
The answer, in short, is an unabashed yes!
Why? Well, consider a few stats. In the workplace, while there has been progress, women around the globe still face severe disadvantages. From the US to Africa, women everywhere generally have fewer job opportunities than men. The employment rates of women on average are only 50% of those of men (in South Asia 29% and in Arab States only 16%). Additionally, women account for 70% of the world’s poor but account for only 1% of the world’s wealth.
How can we narrow these divides? One crucial way is by expanding educational opportunities for women, especially in emerging economies. Few can articulate this point better than 15-year-old education activist Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan:
On October 9, 2012, about a year after this conversation aired on CNN, Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban as she traveled home from school with two classmates in north-west Pakistan. A failed attempt to silence her and her leading voice for girls’ education, Malala miraculously survived.
Since the incident, she has been receiving treatment in Birmingham, where she continues to advocate for girls’ right to education. “God has given me this new life and this is a second life….I want to serve the people and I want every girl, every child, to be educated,” she said in February 2013.
Malala represents one of many young girls in Pakistan and around the world who are standing up for their right to obtain an education and to do so without fear. If you think that this wish is something that should be a reality in 2013, you can help today. Simply make a donation to the Malala Fund.
Malala is one of many heroes worthy of recognition this International Women’s Day. Who else should we honor?
This post is by Monica Gray, DC-based video journalist and creator of Cool Convos, a video blog featuring offbeat conversations with fascinating people. Tweet her @MonicaNGray and check out more vids at coolconvos.com