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What Women (Actually) Want

BY CATHERINE AFFLECK

Happy International Women’s Day! (Or week, for that matter!)


Tuesday, March 8, 2016 marked a day to celebrate the wonderful women in our lives (here’s looking at you, mom), as well as a day to turn our attention to girls around the globe.

Consider all the women in your life – maybe it’s been awhile since you’ve had a proper catch-up with them. You should ask them out for coffee! What are they up to? What are their hopes for 2016? While it might be hard to fit around one table, imagine what all of the women of the world would say if they were sitting across from you over a steaming cup-o-joe...

Here are the three major hopes that your family or friends – the 3.5 billion ladies worldwide – have for this year (as taken from the the UN's Progress Report of the World’s Women):

1. She wants RESOURCES



She wants equal access to education and paid work (and fair pay would be cool too). It’s amazing how the simple changes ripple outwards and better everyone’s lives. According to Centre for Global Development:

When a girl in the developing world receives seven years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer but healthier children. That means everyone is healthier!

Last year, Food for the Hungry (FH) Canada helped women gain access to resources:





2. She wants RESPECT




This isn’t just a women’s issue. This is something for all humankind. It's time to end stereotyping and stigmatizing women as weak or less valuable; women are capable in ways both similar and unique, and are proven strong leaders.
(And here's to good fathers, like Ziauddin Yousafzai, who recognizes that!)

Last year, FH Canada helped empower women in roles of leadership:




3. She wants a VOICE

 

How can we properly talk about gender equality unless the genders are both represented? When people (men and women alike) feel like they have a voice – a voice that's worth hearing; a voice that is valid – they are able to help themselves, and indeed their entire communities, go from stuck to thriving.

Last year, FH Canada helped empower women to participate in garden training for their household:



The UN's Progress Report of the World’s Women says, in regards to Resources, Respect, and Voice, that:
Only when action is taken in all three domains can we bring about the transformation of structures and institutions – including households, labour markets and governance institutions – that maintain women’s subordination.
These three hopes are very real for women. And likely for the women in your life. Maybe even for you. They play out so differently depending on your culture and context.

So consider the girls your community. How do you think of them? From the seemingly disgruntled teen, to the 'helicopter mom' next door, to the slow-moving elderly woman at the cashier, to the recent immigrant in the burka - do you think of them equally worthy of resources, respect, and voice?

Perhaps it's time to take a woman in your community out for coffee and start the conversation.

Food for the Hungry (FH) and our staff in communities around the world know that a vital part of transforming communities is empowering its vulnerable women. One of the most effective ways is by helping girls go to school - that means, helping parents: appreciate the value of their daughters, understanding the value of school, and having the means by which to send them. We've summed that up as Girl Power!

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Food for the Hungry: What Women (Actually) Want
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