Women

As we celebrate the International Women’s Day, we must reflect upon the challenges many women and girls face around the globe

International Women’s March

Whether a Rohingya refugee or a famous actress in Hollywood, being a woman requires an extra level of resistance and hope. The last few years have opened many eyes on the situation of women around the world, especially concerning sexual harassment and the fragility of the gender equality speech when it comes to true representation and parity on the work field.

Yet, we have much more to accomplish. Here are a few numbers from UN Women to consider: 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetime; 830 women die every day from preventable pregnancy-related causes; and only 1 in 4 parliamentarians worldwide are women. It will be 2086 before we close the gender pay gap if present trends continue with no action.

What can we do as a society to accelerate equality in our world? Awareness campaigns surely help, as #MeToo and many other hashtags spread the message that we are equal in our experiences and concerns. We’ve learned that feminism is not the opposite of sexism, it’s solely the true hope to be equal in a broad, respectful way. Marches around the world passed the message that we, as women, own our bodies, our choices, our sexuality. That we must be heard and respected. But is it enough?

The new International Women’s Day theme this year is «Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Womens’ Lives». It celebrates strong, fearless activists whose work is key to all the transformations we’re witnessing as a society. More important than being a voice, they are role models for our girls and boys, the next generations that will hopefully put their message into practice. Activism is key, and female activism is the remedy to invisibility.

Despite a long history of prejudice and ignorance, these women are getting their voices increasingly heard. From Malala Yousafzai, who’s shown that education matters for girls, to Amal Clooney, who was brave enough to be the first lawyer to sue ISIS for its crimes, to Noriko Mitsui, Horyou ambassador to Japan, whose work for social good has been recognized by members of the US Congress and its Multi Ethnic Advisory Task Force which ranked her among the Top 20 Women of Global Excellence. To mothers, waitresses, teachers, housewives, who fight against poverty, prejudice and domestic violence.

Many of them might not be able to march. I’m marching for them, though. I want to resonate their voices. Because #Timesup to be silent.

Written by Vívian Soares

Horyou supports the SDG5, which aims to empower women and girls for gender equality. You can be part of it too either by supporting one of Horyou organizations which work for this SDG or by participating in the Horyou Light Challenge, that aims to raise awareness of gender equality. Be the change, be Horyou!

Half of the world’s population lives on USD 2 a day or less. The 8th UN Sustainable Development Goal promotes decent work for all.

Photo: UNDP

Robots taking humans jobs in Europe, a slave market in Libya, child labor in Brazil, youth unemployment in Spain…our society is globally affected by job insecurity and vulnerability. While the global unemployment rate stands at 5.7 per cent, having a job doesn’t guarantee decent conditions and earnings. Young women are the most vulnerable group, with a larger chance to be neither in employment nor in education.

This situation affects the global political and economic stability – labor productivity has been slowing down since 2010, which represents a negative living standard and real wages progress worldwide. Indirectly, it will affect human impact on the environment, education levels, violence, and migration. It’s all connected.

Yet, there are good news. Despite remaining a huge concern, the number of working children has declined from 246 million in 2000 to 168 million in 2012, and it’s even better for girls with a 40% decline versus 25% for boys.

According to the UNDP, better labor conditions require access to financial services and aid for trade. The former has increased by 55 per cent in the last five years, while investment in trade-related infrastructure, banking and agriculture has reached USD 53.9 billion in 2015. Trust funds for the least developed countries are also running their second phase now up to 2022.

In addition to the work of governments and transnational institutions, the creation of quality jobs still remains one of the biggest challenges for all economies. Many organizations are working to qualify people and provide them with skills and access to better jobs.

One of Horyou’s active organizations devoted to the SDG 8 is Association Flamme de la Gloire. Based in Morocco, it provides support and social services to vulnerable communities. Through workshops and internships, it helps to improve the quality of access to work. It is focused on the development of tourism and cultural activities, as well as agricultural cooperatives within the country, constantly concerned with the sustainable aspects of these activities.

In Brazil, NOUS Educare provides educational development programs to strengthen human potential, based on anthroposophy. Through workshops, lectures and activities, it helps its participants to gain confidence, strength and skills to face the new labor scenario which is unfolding for all workers.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote decent work and economic growth in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

The 5th Sustainable Development Goal concerns nearly half of global population – girls and women are still far from having the same opportunities and privileges as men

Photo: UNDP

Internet and social media are full of hashtags concerning women’s challenges in our society. The most recent one was #metoo, in which women shared their personal stories about harassment. The idea was to prove a grim reality – believe me if you are a man, almost every female on the planet has a sad story to tell about it. If you are a woman, you already know how it feels.

From corporations in the developed world to slums in the poorest countries, we share the same vulnerability. Since we’re born, our gender defines our challenges – we are going to face more difficulties to access education; if we get into the job market, our salaries will be lower; we are more exposed to violence and forced marriages; we have poorer access to health services. Women empowerment is urgent, and we, regardless of gender, should work together to promote it.

We need more representation: according to the UNDP, in 46 countries, women hold 30% or more in national parliament seats. Globally, women’s participation in single or lower houses of national parliaments reached 23.4 percent in 2017, just 10 percentage points higher than in 2000. It’s not enough.

We need more education: in sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and Western Asia, girls still face barriers to entering both primary and secondary school.

We need equal opportunities: in the corporate world, women are underrepresented in managerial positions. In the majority of the 67 countries with data from 2009 to 2015, fewer than a third of senior- and middle-management positions were held by women.

We need liberty: only half of women in reproductive age make their own decisions about consensual sexual relations and use of contraceptives and health services.

We deserve respect: A fifth of women of reproductive age have suffered physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the 12 months prior to the survey, made in 2016.

Association El Khir promotes cooking workshops for women in Morocco

The SDG 5 defends the end of all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere. In 2014, the UN Women launched the campaign He for She, inviting men to join the fight for equal opportunities – since then, the discussion has improved and many debate spaces were opened in media, companies, governments and civil society. Many organizations have been working towards the same goal. The Horyou community has great examples of NGOs and projects that support women and create an empowering environment for them to overcome difficulties and thrive personally and professionally.

One of the active members of our platform is Association Féminine de Bienfaisance El-Khir, based in Morocco, which promotes better life condition for women in the country, supporting their independence by providing them with legal assistance and career opportunities through education.

One of the activities of Fundação Laço Rosa during Pink October

In Brazil, Fundação Laço Rosa, yet another active nonprofit organization in our platform, empowers women with breast cancer, by helping them with self-image issues and to create bonds to overcome the disease.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote women empowerment in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

Written by Vivian Soares

The 4th UN Sustainable Development Goal relates to education and change. How to implement inclusive and quality education for all, and promote lifelong learning, to build a fairer society.

Children in Pakistani School. Photo: UNDP

Malala Yousafzai was only 12 years old when she wrote a moving blog article about her life in Pakistan under the Taliban regime. Her bravery almost cost Malala her life – she was shot by a gunman and had to flee her country to remain safe. Things have changed for her since. Her voice was now heard and she became famous in global media for advocating education for girls in her country. Last summer, Malala received the news that she was accepted at the prestigious Oxford University. She’s a good example that education can change people, build dreams, move the world.

Like Malala in her early years, many children have poor or no access to education. According to the UN, 57 million children are out of school. Half of them live in conflict-affected areas. Even when they do go to school, it is often not enough to provide them with the basic education: 103 million youth lack basic literacy skills, and more than 60 percent of them are women. The most vulnerable groups are persons with disabilities, indigenous people, refugee children and poor children in rural areas.

Some progress has been achieved in the last 17 years – more schools have access to computers, and schooling is growing; yet the numbers are unequal and can’t always equate with quality. «Even though more children than ever are going to school, many do not acquire basic skills in reading and mathematics», said a recent assessment report published by the UN. Teachers do not have proper training and the poor conditions of schools in many parts of the world jeopardize quality education prospects.

Funds for infrastructure and training are needed, as well as public policies that prioritize quality education. Many non-government organizations have acted tirelessly to improve the situation, especially in the most affected regions and with the most vulnerable groups.

Girls education is a critical issue for our society. Photo: Ma belle école

On the Horyou platform, the NGO Avante – Educação e Mobilização Social, based in Brazil, provides empowering education to children in poor and socially vulnerable communities. In addition to funding teacher training and tech inclusion in schools, it promotes citizenship, encourages gender and racial identity debates with children, their families and social actors and train them to become community leaders.

The association Ma Belle École works within school inclusion projects in developing countries. Through individual sponsorship programmes, it provides children with regular access to school in conflict-affected countries like Syria and Mali. It also helps their families, providing them with food and other basic resources, so children are not forced to abandon education and thus be used as cheap labor.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote education in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

Every baby taking its first breath is a potential actor of change. Every teenager living in a healthy environment has the potential to create a stable and happy family. Every woman with access to a safe childbirth is potentially a loving mother. Health is an essential condition to change the world for the better.

Photo: UNDP

What would the world be like when deaths are not caused by neglected or badly treated diseases anymore? The UN Sustainable Development Goal number 3 aims to ensure healthy lives and well-being for all at all ages.

It does not mean that we would no more have diseases and deaths, but that we would minimize avoidable mistakes and negligence. Global maternity mortality ratio, for instance, would be reduced to less than 70 per 100,000 and epidemics of infectious diseases would end by 2030. Road accidents, tobacco-related illnesses and other health conditions caused by lack of access to treatment would not be part of our daily lives either.

According to the UN, many advances have been made on the health front worldwide since 2000. Yet we still have to face realities such as the ones we find in sub-Saharan regions whereby only 53% live births are assisted by skilled people and mortality among children under 5 years of age is 84‰, almost twice global rates. Part of the solution is to prevent early and unintended pregnancies by fighting child marriages and spreading reproductive education; but there is an urgent need to invest and train in skilled care and sound health policies worldwide.

Infectious diseases are yet another challenge to face – HIV, tuberculosis and hepatitis B epidemics continue to plague many countries -, and the solution lies in prevention. Vaccines, sanitation and hygiene, as well as sexual education are to be improved. The same applies to premature deaths caused by depression, alcohol and tobacco, all of which are taboo ailments in several regions.

Many of these health risks are directly related to poor quality medical assistance and lack of health coverage and funding, especially in underdeveloped regions. Available data from 2005 to 2015 indicate that over 40% countries count less than one physician per 1,000 people, and around half have fewer than three nurses or midwives per 1,000 people. Almost all least developed countries count less than one physician and fewer than three nurses or midwives per 1,000 people.

Many organizations and social projects did produce some improvement. Child Family Health International, an NGO that is active on our Horyou platform, is one fine example of community-based global health education programs for students and institutions that aim at empowering local communities. CFHI acts on undergraduate medical schools curricula and publishes papers and publications on global health safety on a regular basis.

Based in Cameroon, Ascovime, yet another active member of the Horyou community, runs educational health campaigns and provides free medical consultation and surgery to isolated communities throughout the country. Ascovime was founded by Dr. Georges Bwelle, a surgeon at the Central Hospital in Yaoundé and a CNN Hero.

If you wish to support this SDG, you can do so through Horyou. Go to Horyou platform and choose an NGO or project that helps promote health and well-being in your region or anywhere in the world. Your support can be made easier and more effective with Spotlight, our digital currency for impact. Check it out and start using it to engage in any cause you feel concerned about. Be the change, be Horyou!

Six years ago, Lovern Gordon, a lady social entrepreneur, decided to give hope to many women victims of domestic abuse. Instigated by her own personal and family story, she set up Love Life Now Foundation in the US, an organization which, throughout the years, has helped collect thousands of dollars for shelters and raise awareness about domestic violence worldwide. In this interview for the Horyou blog, Lovern shares her thoughts on feminism and social media as an awareness tool, as well as her hopes for the future.

Lovern Gordon in a  Teen Domestic Violence Workshop
Lovern Gordon in a Teen Domestic Violence Workshop

Briefly, tell us a little about the beginning of Love Life Foundation and its main advances.

Love Life Now Foundation, Inc. was established in November, 2011.

I worked tirelessly to promote Awareness Against Domestic Violence as a platform after winning 2 beauty pageants (locally in Boston and nationally in Los Angeles in 2010), but did not want to stop there with advocacy, so Love Life Now was formed.

I am a survivor of abuse from a 2 year relationship, and was also a child witness to it…my mother was abused at the hands of our father throughout their marriage. My mother and I were unaware at the time of the tremendous and valuable resources available to victims and survivors that help save lives daily, and is the reason I seek to spread awareness on a daily basis today through the Foundation’s work.

Through the formation of the Love Life Now and its initiatives, we have been able to donate thousands of dollars to shelters statewide, raise awareness about resources available nationwide and assist victims and survivors in finding the necessary help as it relates to this issue.

Volunteers give brown bag lunches and toiletry filled care packages to homeless affected by domestic violence and beyond.
Volunteers give brown bag lunches and toiletry filled care packages to homeless affected by domestic violence and beyond.

What are the main inspirations for your work?

My mother. For all that she has endured, never letting it break her spirit and still coming out on top…she’s my hero.

What kind of impact does the organization want to make in the world?

When Love Life Now was formed, all I sought to do was help anyone that needed it. Over the years I have observed that our initiatives leave folks with a desire to do more as bystanders when it comes to this issue. If we can continue to help change the narrative while continuing to inspire, that will be more than I could have ever asked for.

Lovern Gordon
Lovern Gordon

Horyou is the social network for social good. How do social networks and technology influence the day-to-day running of the foundation?

I’d say it’s literally the bread and butter of Love Life Now. Our reach via social networks and technology has proven to be limitless. For instance, our newly launched digital domestic violence awareness magazine Love Life Magazine (www.lovelifemag.org), reaches folks in as far as Spain, Africa and the Caribbean. The same goes for our almost daily posts about what we’re doing to foster change…which in turn enables others to let them know they can do the same in their corner of the world.

Feminism is a movement that has gained momentum and has helped people to be aware openly about domestic violence. Do you see the change in women empowerment throughout the years?

Absolutely! Across the world, no matter where you lived…domestic violence was looked upon as a taboo subject, accepted by some cultures, or shameful all around. Though we still have a long, long way to go, I believe it’s no longer business as usual when it comes to women being abused. More women are standing in solidarity with those affected by it. One in every four women will be touched by this issue and in the age of social media where you can show support to other women who no longer want to be silent about it, the empowerment level has been raised up significantly.

White Ribbon Night Gala, where men are invited to speak out against domestic violence
White Ribbon Night Gala, where men are invited to speak out against domestic violence

We live in an age of constant transformation. What are the positive changes you want for women’s lives and for future generations?

A big hope is that the laws surrounding domestic violence and sexual assault are continuously tightened and enforced.

Horyouis the Social Network for Social Good, which connect, support and promote social initiatives, entrepreneurs, and citizens that thrive helping the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals to build a more harmonious and inclusive world. We invite you to Be the Change, Be Horyou!

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