March 8th, International Women’s Day, is an important day for women around the world. It is a day of celebration, but it is also a day to remind us of the millions worldwide who continue to fight for justice, equality and peace.
On International Women’s Day we are reminded of the millions of women who live in countries in crisis, at war, or in areas that have recently experienced natural disasters. Each day, these women fight to defend their basic rights, feed their children and help their families and communities to survive.
In August 2012, the story all over the news in Quebec was of Tanya St-Arnaud, a young woman whose boyfriend sprayed her with acid, burning her face, head and torso. In October, it was Malala Yousafzai’s story circulating the globe: a young advocate for women and girl’s education in Pakistan who was shot in the head and severely wounded. This young education activist, nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, was just causing too much trouble. At the end of December, a young student in India was raped by six men, dying two weeks later of her injuries. A few months from now, images from near and far will continue to remind us that women are still fighting for their rights, and that we can never give up.
Let’s take the opportunity today to think of these women who live in countries where chaos - human or natural - reigns, robbing them of their basic rights. We must act on their behalf.
What can we do? By supporting organizations that place a special focus on empowering women and girls through their programming, you can help change the lives of women around the world. There are many such organizations; CARE is one of them. As Canadians we have the power to make a difference by uniting and supporting these organizations who know how to manage resources available to them and implement effective actions.
Did you know that every year, approximately 500,000 women die from pregnancy-related complications? That women produce half of the world’s food, but own only one per cent of its farmland? That 76 percent of Africans who have HIV/AIDS are young women?
We have the power to help women around the world, and thus help to change the world. We know that by doing this, we not only enrich their lives but ours as well. These women are at the very core of our world’s efforts to improve the global level of education, eliminate the spread of HIV, improve access to clean drinking water, increase financial opportunities and protect natural resources.
Let’s act - immediately - and help women around the world.
Ms. Louise Fréchette, OC
Chair of CARE Canada Board of Directors
Chair of the J’ai le pouvoir (I Am Powerful) Committee in Quebec
Chair of Zip Communication
Hilary M. Pearson
Director, CARE Canada Board of Directors
In Quebec, CARE Canada implemented a Committee of dedicated women called J’ai le pouvoir (I Am Powerful). This group of committed ladies want to show that women who are facing difficult situation have the power to change their world.