Around the world, women are making progress, but still far too often they are deprived of their rights, forced into early marriage, refused education, and paid less than men for their labor. And yet we know that we cannot make progress as communities, countries and nations without economically secure, healthy, and politically engaged women.
I hope you will support one or more of the organizations listed below. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but checking out some of them is an education and may lead you to deepen your support for women's issues. Support a woman today, and do it long-term. Do it for all the women in your life. You could do them no greater honor.
What's Special This Year
10X10 is both a campaign and a film. It's about the power of educating women and girls. The film, GirlRising, profiles nine girls who challenge their circumstances through education. The film debuts in theaters March 7, 2013. 10X10 works with various nonprofit partners that promote education and the welfare of women around the world. Watch the trailer and join the effort.
Half the Sky is a movement kicked off by the book, "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide," by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. The book was the basis for the film of the same name, shown on national television in the US in 2012. It will be shown again (Internationally) on March 8, 2013. Half the Sky works with a number of organizations, all striving to change the lives of women and girls around the globe.
Education for Girls
- Camfed - Camfed fights poverty and AIDS by educating girls and empowering young women in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana and Malawi.
- Room to Read - Helps children in the developing world gain the lifelong gift of education.
- The United Nations Foundation - Works on many fronts to improve the lives of women and girls around the globe.
- Girl Scouts. If women in the US have one experience in common, it's the Girl Scouts. We've been scouts ourselves, led troops, been to a Girl Scout camp, and sold cookies. Supporting this always innovating organization is just natural.
- She's the First - Encourages young women in the US to help girls around the globe to attend school.
Women's Economic Empowerment
- Opportunity International - Provides microfinance loans, savings, insurance and training to over two million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world.
- Vital Voices identifies, trains and empowers emerging women leaders and social entrepreneurs around the globe.
- Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - The Gates Foundation works in numerous areas, but many directly affect women's economic security in developing countries. Individuals cannot donate to the Gates Foundation, but it is worth while to keep up with its activities.
- Kiva - Through Kiva you can help provide a micro-loan to an entrepreneur in a developing country, many of whom are women.
- CARE - CARE supports gender equality and economic stability for women around the globe.
- Heifer International - Heifer works across the world to empower women and families in their struggle for financial independence.
- International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) - ICRW conducts crucial research into what works and what doesn't to improve the lives of women, from AIDS prevention to economic security.
- Global Business Coalition's Healthy Women, Healthy Economies (GBC Health) - Involves corporations in addressing the needs of women and helping them to beome players in their own economies.
Women's Health and Preventing Early Marriage
- The Elders has built a global alliance to help aid organizations to collaborate in solving the problem of child marriage.
- Women for Women International - Provides financial aid, job training, rights awareness and leadership education to women around the globe.
- International Planned Parenthood Federation - Working around the world to reduce population growth through birth control and education.
- UNICEF - A leader in its focus on children, UNICEF continues to work on a myriad of fronts across the globe to improve the lives of children.
- The Fistula Foundation - Fistulas afflict young women in poor countries. They can be repaired easily and cheaply with proper surgical techniques.
- Women Deliver - Working to prevent maternal death and disability.
- Girls' Power Initiative, Nigeria (GPI) - Educates girls about their health and rights; and teaches self-reliance and communication skills.
- Berhane Hewan - Assists unmarried girls in the Amhara region of Ethiopia by providing the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to avoid child marriage.
Images: Logo for International Women's Day; Girls in school uniforms in Haiti from 10x10