- I know what it is like to be a little girl who is smarter than the average bear growing up in a traditional happy household where success will be measured by getting married and having babies and knowing really early on that wasn’t for me.
- I know what it is like to be a woman who no matter what job I walked into I never got paid what the man who had it before me did.
- I know what it like to be in an industry like IT from the beginning where I was more often than not the only woman or in a very small minority.
- I know what it is like to be the first woman appointed to a board and have the chairman continually call me “girly”.
- I know what it is like to be the head of a world first project and have the supplier arrive and ask me to get them a coffee.
- I know that with all that to deal with it with laughter and no bitterness and still really like men.
- I know what it is like to lead a team of 180 and make sure that all my staff were grown and worked together with fun and laughter and were more productive and to ensure the women in my team were treated well and helped along with a bit of special attention.
I also relate to similar issues in my blog Women are we are own Worst enemies.
I have always wondered how, throughout history, women seemingly landed on such an unbalanced side of the Power scale. It seemed to have started with the Caveman dragging us off into caves by the hair but I sometimes believe that for all the suffragette, Feminists, the occasional Head of major corporations , have we really come all that far?????
I started to do some research on the topic and it was really depressing. The following is an excerpt from http://www.womankind.org.uk.
Violence against women and girls
- Violence causes more death and disability worldwide among women aged 15-44 than war, cancer, malaria and traffic accidents (World Bank Study World Development Report: Investing in Health, New York, Oxford University Press, 1993.)
- Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions. At least 1 in 3 women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime with the abuser usually someone known to her (General Assembly. In-Depth Study on All Forms of Violence against Women: Report of the Secretary General, 2006. A/61/122/Add.1. 6 July 2006)
Violence against women and girls in armed conflict
- In modern conflict almost 90% of casualties are civilians, most of whom are women and children (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1999, SIPRI, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 2)
- In Rwanda, up to half a million women were raped during the 1994 genocide.
- Up to 60,000 women were raped in the war in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- In Sierra Leone, the number of incidents of war-related sexual violence among internally displaced women from 1991 to 2001 was as high as 64,000 (Vlachova, Biason. Women in an Insecure World. Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces. 2005). Free resources
Women’s civil and political participation
- Globally, women make up just 17% of parliamentarians (UNICEF, The State of the World’s Children 2007, UNICEF, New York: 2006, p.56)
- Over the past 25 years only 1 in 40 women were peace agreement signatories.
(source: GAPS: Global Monitoring Checklist PDF)
Lack of resources for women
- Since 2003, only 3.8% of overseas development aid has been allocated to gender equality. (Brian Tomlinson, World Aid Trends: Donors Distorting the Reality of Aid in 2008, in Chapter 5, World Aid Trans and OECD Reports PDF)
- Less than 8% of actual budgets for Post-conflict Needs assessments (PCNAs) addressed women’s needs. (UNIFEM)
- UNIFEM analysed five countries’ poverty reduction strategies in 2009, and found that women’s rights and priorities were hardly considered, especially in their budgets.
- WHO studies in Rwanda, Tanzania and South Africa show that women who have experienced violence are three times more likely to be at risk from HIV infection. (Source: World Health Organisation briefing)
- 99% of maternal deaths occur in developing countries, with women continuing to die of pregnancy-related causes at the rate of one a minute. (UNPF: Maternal mortality figures show limited progress in making motherhood safer, October 2007)
Women and girls’ education
- Globally, 10 million more girls are out of school than boys (Calculated from data contained in the UN’s The Millennium Development Goals report 2007, New York: 2007, p11)
- 41 million girls worldwide are still denied a primary education. (UNESCO, Education for all: Global monitoring report 2008, Oxford University Press, Oxford: 2007, p184.)
- Women account for nearly two thirds of the world’s 780 million people who cannot read. (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, “Adult Literacy Rates and Illiterate Population by Region and Gender,” 2006)
Women and poverty
- Women produce up to 80% of food in developing countries, but are more likely to be hungry than men, and are often denied the right to own land (Food and Agriculture Organization, The feminisation of hunger what do the surveys tell us? 2001, and The state of food insecurity in the world 2005, Rome: 2005, p17)
It just goes on and on, no matter how many sites you go to, the story still doesn’t seem to get better.
It is worse in undeveloped countries but the statistics are just as horrifying in the First World. We don’t have the health and education issues that they do, yet we still seem to have equal statistics in violence against women, lack of women in positions of power in the Political and Corporate world, and an absolute inequality in pay scales.
I have pondered this issue since I was young. How Come?? I mean we make up over half the population, we go to school. Is it purely because we are the ones to have babies. I simply don’t know and have no real answers other than we need new fairy tales, new magazines, new idols, and to change our attitudes to supporting each other.
In an article in the Australian last year by GAYLE PETERSON, titles The uncomfortable truth about women, to quote her
Companies that wish to survive and thrive in a complex world will need to actively promote these changes, ensuring that women are mentored and included in networks that promote innovation and creativity (regardless of gender), as well as encouraged to obtain training in burgeoning areas such as communications and information technology.
Additionally, to develop these leaders, policy-makers, society and private companies alike must work to support women’s economic empowerment life-cycle at all stages, beginning early and reinforcing often. This cycle starts in the beginning with the critical physical, emotional, and intellectual shaping that occurs in infancy, childhood, and adolescence.
Each phase of a woman’s economically productive life, from income readiness to employment and entrepreneurship, and, ultimately, to financial security and leadership presents additional opportunities to put more women on the path to economic empowerment.
We know that women have powerful skills and abilities but that to shatter glass ceilings, they will need more than just a can-do attitude. We need to provide women around the world with deliberate, positive support to break down barriers and become the leaders we so urgently need if we are to solve our increasingly complex problems successfully and sustainably.
Below are some sites I found that seem to be trying to make a difference.
Womankind Worldwide is an international women’s rights charity working to help women transform their lives in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
We partner with women’s rights organisations who are challenging discrimination and violence. Womankind delivers the essential support – funding, expertise, contacts and publicity – these women’s organisations need to amplify their voice, increase their impact and bring about greater change.
Last year we directly supported almost 141,000 women and improved the rights of over 6.5 million women.
FITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship)
Join FITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship) powered by Kiva.org, connects you to women entrepreneurs who need a hand up.
By redeeming unique codes found through joinFITE partners, contributions are made to fund microloans for women entrepreneurs to start or grow a business.
These loans allow them to invest in their own potential—establishing a source of income to provide for themselves and their families.
LIKE us on facebook to receive your joinFITE code and lend your hand to help empower a woman into financial independence through entrepreneurship.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
UNFPA expands the possibilities for women and young people to lead healthy and productive lives.
Since UNFPA started working in 1969, the number – and rate – of women dying from complications of pregnancy or childbirth has been halved. Families are smaller and healthier. Young people are more connected and empowered than ever before.
But too many are still left behind. Nearly a billion people remain mired in extreme poverty. Reproductive health problems are a leading cause of death and disability for women in the developing world. Young people bear the highest risks of HIV infection and unintended pregnancy. More than a hundred million girls face the prospect of child marriage and other harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation or cutting.
Much more needs to be done to ensure a world in which all individuals can exercise their basic human rights, including those that relate to the most intimate and fundamental aspects of life.
The Australian National Committee for UN Women is one of 17 global National Committees for UN Women. It was established in 1989 as an Australian NGO and has its headquarters in the federal capital, Canberra.
Its role is to:
- Raise funds to support UN Women’s projects and programs
- Challenge attitudes which perpetuate gender inequality in Australia and the region
- Engage with the Australian Government to raise awareness of the work of UN Women
The Knowledge Gateway for Women’s Economic Empowerment—EmpowerWomen.org—is an open global platform that promotes collaboration, learning and innovation to advance women’s economic empowerment. It connects women and men in more than 190 economies with development partners from the private sector, civil society, academia, governments and international organizations.
EmpowerWomen.org is a community-driven online platform that provides opportunities for women and men to:
- EXPLORE over 1,000 resources and tools for driving the agenda of gender equality and women’s economic empowerment and for helping women to achieve their economic goals.
- CONNECT businesses, entrepreneurs, farmers, workers, politicians, policy-makers, professionals, researchers, and advocates for women’s economic empowerment.
- DISCUSS what governments, companies, civil society, communities, families and individuals can do to advance economic empowerment of women.
- LEARN new skills and gain insights on how to enter the job market, develop a career, run a business, claim economic rights, and succeed professionally.