International Women’s Day: Join #Kiva.org/Dreams & #WomensLives
“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights” Gloria Steinem
Today, March 8, millions of people worldwide will celebrate the 104th International Women’s Day. The theme for this year is #MakeItHappen and many groups are showing their support with the hashtag #PaintItPurple. The 2015 UN Theme is Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity:Picture It! One key UN goal, for International Women’s Day in 2015, will be to highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which 189 nations signed in 1995. Twenty years ago, nations gathered to support the development and empowerment of women. How far have we come and how far do we have to go? While many gains have been made, the dream of women’s equality is still far from reality. The truth is that in 2015 inequality is still all around us. Opportunity is not equal. Education is not equal. Wealth is not equal.
In honor of International Women’s Day – and the days that follow – Kiva has launched Kiva.org/Dreams to spotlight the power of women to create sustainable change when everyday people, like you and me, lend their support. By visiting their website via the links above, you can back a dream by choosing a woman Kiva should lend $25 to. There is no cost to you. By choosing her, you help her to follow her dream of starting or growing her business, sending her children to school, and gaining financial independence.
Kiva.org is the world’s first and largest crowd-funding platform for social good with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Since 2005, more than 1.6 million people turned their dreams into reality because 1.3 million people backed their dream on Kiva. Together, more than $675 million in loans have been crowd-funded, with a 98% repayment rate.
“To be truly transformative, the post-2015 development agenda must prioritize gender equality and women’s empowerment. The world will never realize 100 per cent of its goals if 50 per cent of its people cannot realize their full potential. ” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
In February 2015, a media partnership between Public Radio International (PRI) and SheKnows Media, BlogHer’s parent company, led to the development of the #womenslives initiative. The goal is to bring media attention and individual effort to sharing stories about issues that impact women’s lives; these include women’s rights, health, education, wealth, our role in combating climate change and our economic development. By culling stories from a variety of sources and discussing them, we can begin to open more channels of communication between the sexes and among ourselves.
So far, we have shared and read many stories on a number of these issues and we will continue to do so into the future. We can make an impact by raising our voices and supporting causes that matter. This is where organizations like Kiva comes into play. By contributing to the success of an entrepreneurial woman who has overcome obstacles most of us cannot even truly imagine, we discover so much more about our own resiliency, possibility, and potential. Each of us has a part to play and together we can make dreams a reality for thousands of women around the world.
“If you look at Kiva.org, people with a very modest amount of money can make a huge positive impact all around the world.” Bill Clinton, Former USA President
UPDATE: Timeline of International Women’s Day (IWD)
28 February 1909 – First observed in the USA as National Women’s Day in Chicago
August 1910 – Attendees at the International Women’s Conference in Denmark propose the idea
18 March, 1911 – IWD was celebrated by over a million people in Europe; right to vote, hold public office and end gender discrimination at work were key issues.
February 1913 – Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day. In 1917, it became official in the region.
March 1914 – International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time on Sunday, March 8, and this date has continued as the preferred/official day since.
October 1, 1949 – In the People’s Republic of China, the state council decided that March 8 would be made an official half day off holiday for women in China
1977 – International Women’s Day (marked by the UN since 1975), became a popular event when the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the official UN Day for women’s rights and world peace.
March 8 2010 – International Women’s Day – the ICRC (Red Cross) drew attention to the hardship displaced women endure (refugees and others at war) and has continued its call to end armed conflict.
March 8 2011 – International Women’s Day – Celebrations took place in more than 100 countries in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day
March 8 1996 -2015 – Every year, the UN adopts a special theme to focus attention on for International Women’s Day. The 2015 theme is Empowering Women – Empowering Humanity:Picture It
Sources: UN Women Watch, International Women’s Day.com, Wikipedia
Women’s empowerment means economic growth for their families, communities and the world. Without access to resources to attend school or grow a business, their dreams are far too often out of reach. This affects us all. A case in point: if women farmers had equal access to farming assets and finance, they could increase their crop yields up to 30% and 150 million people who go hungry every day would be able to eat. So, in honor of International Women’s Day and the power of women to create lasting change, back a dream at Kiva.org/Dreams and participate in the #WomensLives initiative.
What are your thoughts? Did you celebrate International Women’s Day? Do share! Happy International Women’s Day ! Thank you.
For More: Women’s Lives & Issues
Positive Motivation Tip: Women become catalysts for change when we empower others to step out of their shells and embrace their strengths. We can’t do it alone, we need the support of other women and supportive men. What are you doing to empower others? Take a stand. Empower yourself and others.