Today’s blog post is from Gretchen Roedde, author of A Doctor’s Quest. Gretchen talks to us today about women and how necessary and important they are for all of our societies to function, be healthy, and grow to be much more than they are today.
On March 8, International Women’s Day, women around the globe celebrate the potential for women to change the world. There are difficult challenges that face women. Globally, women are poorer, less educated, and have lower status than men. And no man faces death bringing life into the world. In spite of this, women are leading their communities towards positive change. Women support each other in different ways on this and every day.
“Join me on the Bridge” is one example, the biggest women’s rights campaign in the world today. It started as a gathering of Rwandan and Congolese women on a bridge connecting their two countries. They showed that women can build bridges of peace and hope for the future. This has sparked what is today a massive global movement (www.joinmeonthebridge.org). Another example is Women for Women international, which has helped nearly 300,000 women in war torn countries since 1993 (www.womenforwomen.org.uk)
The world has set goals for the progress we hope to see by 2015. The most challenged of these “Millennium Development Goals” is maternal health. Why is it so difficult to protect the health of pregnant women, those who bring the next generation into being? If a woman dies, her children are more likely to die, and the family faces greater poverty. Globally, women work more hours in the day, for less money, than men. They have the primary responsibilities for taking care of the children, the sick and the aged in the community. They are the majority of the volunteer workers in society.
Women are at the heart of the family and the community. It has been said that if you educate a boy, you teach one person, but if you teach a girl, you help a community. If you invest in women’s health, this not only supports women but strengthens the society in which they live and work. If you invest in women with microcredit loans, it is an effective strategy to empower women, reduce poverty, and has a significant impact on their families’ quality of life with better health care, education, and food and clothing. Celebrate women!