From organizing a “walking school bus” to supporting and embodying the body positivity movement, women are changing the world every day. Here is what we’re reading:
NPR, Melodie Edwards
“On some reservations, indigenous women are murdered at more than ten times the national average” (Indian Law Resource Center). When NPR journalist Melodie Edwards asked a group of Native American high school students in Wyoming if they had any missing or murdered family members, over 40 percent of the students raised their hands. Organizations like Not Our Native Daughters have worked to shed light on the high rates of violence against Native American women and girls yet the low levels of prosecution enable this systemic violence to continue. Recently, Wyoming and six other states agreed to adopt a set of recommendations developed by the Indian Law & Order Commission aimed at making Native American girls safer and implementing better systems to hold perpetrators of violence accountable for their actions. The recommendations, captured in a 2015 report to Congress entitled, “A Roadmap For Making Native America Safer,” chart the path forward. To learn more about how this will get done, have a look!
NPR, Malaka Gharib
Violence against women is a global epidemic. What’s the best way to protect girls and women from being bullied, beaten, and sexually assaulted? As journalist Malaka Gharib rightly points out in this article, we simply do not have all the answers. The lack of substantial evidence about what works to protect women and girls impedes organizations from knowing what are the “best” protective methods or plans of action. So, what do we do? Maybe there isn’t one “fix-all” solution, but many! With this mindset, early this year the World Bank awarded $100,00 to each of 11 programs around the world to develop innovative projects aimed at addressing gender-based violence in their communities. From creating a “walking school bus” (chaperoned by adults) in South Africa to providing clean cookstoves to women in Rwandan refugee camps, these projects (like those funded by WomenStrong International!) are all locally based and driven by key stakeholders. To learn more about the individual projects, click here!
NPR, Stephen Thompson
Want a feel-good story for the month? Listen to Lizzo’s concert for NPR’s Tiny Desk series. Not only is she fantastically fierce, but she is also recognized as a strong symbol of body positivity, the movement to love your body, no matter your size. This concert has gone viral on social media. Don’t miss it!
Devex, Paul Adepoju
Period poverty is a problem! The lack of access to sanitary products is detrimental to the health and the social and economic opportunities of many women and girls. In fact, “it is estimated that 1 in 10 girls in Africa misses school when they are on their period, and others run the risk of infection from using unhygienic products, or not changing them often enough” (Adepoju). While removing the tax on these products is commendable, this price reduction is simply not enough to make them available to all those in need. To completely eliminate this form of systemic discrimination, organizations must work alongside governments to provide women and girls with free and sustainable products. Let’s add to our call to #Endtampontax by ending #periodpoverty!
If you don’t know about her, you should. A feminist icon from Nepal, Anuradha Koirala, also known as Dijju, is the founder of Maiti Nepal, an organization that combats child trafficking and provides support to previously trafficked girls and women. “On an average, [Maiti Nepal workers] rescue around 4 girls per day from getting trafficked to India” and have rescued over 12,000 girls since 1993. Recently, Anuradha Koirala was appointed the first Woman Governor of Province No. 3 by the Government of Nepal and continues to do amazing work. We encourage you to learn more about this true #WomenStrongWarrior! Listen to Mrs. Koirala’s TED talk, and follow Maiti Nepal on Twitter and Facebook.
Sierra Leone Times, Natascha Mueller-Hirth
“How do women in conflict actually engage in peacebuilding?” Journalist Natascha Mueller-Hirth tried to answer this question by interviewing 57 Kenyan women deeply affected by the terrible 2007-2008 election-related violence in their country. Mueller-Hirth learned that these women, emboldened by their own experiences, became key actors in organizing “unfunded and informal” peace-building activities, both in their communities and at a national level. By working as mediators and by organizing peace talks and dialogues, women were able to break through certain gender stereotypes and have a lasting impact.
The UN released a report entitled, Progress of the World’s Women 2019-2020: Families in a Changing World, addressing how laws, policies, and public action support families in ways leading to gender equality and women’s empowerment. Want to learn how? Click on the link above!