Today, with good reason, we celebrate International Women’s Day. This day isn’t intended to pit genders against each other; but to celebrate female achievement; appreciate the strides we’ve made; and inspire action from people worldwide that will not cease until all humanity is treated equally. How am I relating International Women’s Day to all of humanity? It’s simple, let’s look at the facts:
- 90% of women’s earnings are invested into their families. (World Bank)
- When 10% more of its girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases an average of 3%. (Council on Foreign Relations)
- When girls receive 7 years of schooling, they marry 4 years later and have 2.2 fewer children. (United Nations Population Fund)
- Educated mothers are 50% more likely to immunize their children. And when more girls are educated, a country’s malnutrition and HIV rates decline. (UNGEI, the Council on Foreign Relations)
- Children with educated mothers are 2x as likely to go to school. (CARE)
- Children born to a literate mother are 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5. (CARE)
- Women’s participation increases the probability of peace agreements lasting at least two years by 20%. It also increases the probability of a peace agreement lasting 15 years by 35%. (UN Women)
There’s a reason some of the most respected individuals to ever live agree with Desmond Tutu that, “If we are going to see real development in the world, then our best investment is women.”
Regardless of the societal pressures placed on women to fit a specific mold – beautiful, but submissive; domestic, but intelligent; sweet, but dependent – we are worth it. It is impossible to be everything to everyone, but so often, as women, we strive to be perfect. Today is a reminder that we are all perfect as we are, that within each of us is the ability to make a difference. That’s why we celebrate today, that’s why we celebrate women.
At VIDA, we are celebrating with the launch of a new collection, The Women for Women Collection. This collection embodies the great quote, “Here’s to strong women. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” (Unknown)
Let the women, the stories, the art, and the passion on this page remind you that we are all strong women, we can all make a difference. It is so easy to feel overwhelmed with the harsh reality of the progress that still needs to be made for women around the world.
The truth is grim:
- 31 million girls of primary school age are not in school. (UNESCO, 2013)
- 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lives. (UN, 2015)
- Nearly two thirds of illiterate people are women, a proportion that has remained unchanged for two decades. (UN, 2015)
- Less than 4% of CEOs in the world’s largest 500 corporations are women. (UN, 2015)
- Women account for two thirds of the world’s poorest citizens. (UNESCO, 2014)
- Women are underrepresented in scientific and technological disciplines. Only 29% of the world’s researchers are women. (UNESCO, 2014)
Not everyone is able to sponsor a women’s rights conference in Turkey, like VIDA did last fall, but we can find it in ourselves to help that female colleague, mentor that middle school girl or suggest a woman for a Board appointment. Each of us can do something to move us forward.
That’s exactly why today is just so important. Use the stories of courageous women worldwide to inspire you to act. Today is a celebration giving us the confidence boost we need to work the next 364 days to brighten the world for everyone.
Everyone has different talents and passions, VIDA Artist Corina Hazlett is an art therapist for prison inmates and victims of human trafficking. She teaches us that like a water lily, beautiful things can come from murky waters. The bleak statistics above are just the murky water and beauty will come when women believe in themselves and help each other.
The International Women’s Day website gives us a whole host of ways that women and men alike can make a difference and #BeBoldForChange.
- Challenge bias and inequality
- Campaign against violence
- Forge women’s advancement
- Celebrate women’s achievement
- Champion women’s education
At VIDA, we’ve launched The Women for Women Collection to celebrate. Visit our page at: https://shopvida.com/collections/international-womens-day to learn more about how our artists are empowering women and The Women for Women Organization we are supporting.