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The Action Thread Part Two

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Women with bright pink hats and signs begin to gather early and are set to make their voices heard on the first full day of Donald Trump's presidency, Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Jose Luis Magana/AP
GIRLS & WOMEN

Here’s What You Need to Know About the Women’s March 2.0

One year later, we could see another massive turnout all over the world.

 JAN. 10, 2018

 

It’s been estimated that the event was the largest single-day protest in US history — with anywhere from 1 to 1.6% of the entire US population participating. Around the world, millions of women and men took to the streets in cities large and small to sound a call for equality, inclusion, and social change.

The 2017 Women’s March was a sight to behold. But can it be outdone in 2018?   

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In partnership with: WEConnect International

 

One year later, more and more details are emerging about the upcoming Women’s March 2.0, to be held January 20th in cities all across the world.

 

It’s happening, and it’s going to be big.

As you set up group chats with your friends, paint signs, and begin planning your participation, here are some of the most crucial details you need to know:

1/ The weekend is January 20th/21st:

The marches, speeches, and rallies will all take place across the weekend of January 20th and 21st. This comes a full 365 days after last year’s march, which came one day after the inauguration of US President Donald Trump. For the bulk of marches in the US, this means marches will likely take place in frigid winter temperatures, especially in the northeast. Bundle up, and make sure your mittens don’t prevent you from holding up your clever sign.

2/ It will be linked to the #PowerToThePolls movement:

The organizers of last year’s Women’s March built on the momentum and energy of the movement to create something very special this time around. To celebrate the one year anniversary of the inaugural march, the co-presidents of the Women’s March will host an event in Las Vegas, Nevada that kicks off a larger campaign to drive voter registration and mobilization in swing states across the US.

Read More: 2017 Proves the Value of Your Collective Voice in Uncertain Times

According to the event’s website, the #PowerToThePolls movement aims to engage voters in swing states where women and progressives could win office. Nevada is very much a swing-state in contention this year, and hosting the event there represents the aims of turning the momentum of the marches into concrete action.

3/ There are marches planned in cities around the world:

So far, marches have been planned in New York, San Francisco, Boston, and a whole host of other cities across the US. Most major marches have organized pages on Facebook, making it easier than ever for people to see who’s going, when the event in their area starts, and the best way to get there.

Read More: 10 Reasons Why 2017 Wasn’t Totally Awful

If the numbers resemble anything from last year, 2018’s march could be one of the largest global demonstrations ever seen.

 
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Connie Britton arrives at the 75th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 7, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
GIRLS & WOMEN

The Powerful Message Behind Connie Britton's Golden Globes Sweater

Addressing poverty simultaneously addresses gender inequality, and vice versa.

 JAN. 8, 2018

 

As the #MeToo movement took center stage at the 2018 Golden Globes yesterday, actress Connie Britton reminded the audience of an often-overlooked dimension of sexual violence and gender inequality, according to E News.  

Stitched across her black shirt in cursive letters were the words “Poverty Is Sexist.”

The message comes from the One Campaign, which has promoted this message for several years.

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In partnership with: CHIME FOR CHANGE

 

“Poverty Is Sexist” is an encompassing phrase. It covers inequalities of justice, opportunity, pay, health care, political status, legal rights, and much more. It also neatly encapsulates the ways in which poverty affects women disproportionately to men.

The phrase alludes to how one in three women experience physical or sexual violence at some point in their lives, women earn far less than men in most countries for doing the same work, and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate are women.

It includes the fact that 28 underage girls are married off each minute, and 131 million girls arecurrently out of school.

Read More: Why Matt Lauer's Harassment of Women Might Finally Be a Cultural Tipping Point

Globally, women are more likely than men to live in poverty, and no country in the world has achieved gender equality in an economic sense, according to Oxfam, because of laws, social structures, and cultural habits that privilege men over women.

Afghan Girls School AP Photo/Rahmat GulImage: AP Photo/Rahmat Gul

“Poverty Is Sexist” is ultimately a reminder that addressing poverty simultaneously addresses gender inequality, and vice versa.

The #MeToo movement has forced an essential reckoning with the pervasiveness of sexual misconduct across various industries. The call to end these abuses was on full display at the Golden Globes awards. But for the movement to achieve full justice, it must also focus on the intersectionality of sexism, and the role poverty plays in reinforcing gender inequality, as Britton’s shirt suggests.

Read More: Heartfelt Letter From Justin Trudeau Agrees 'Poverty Is Sexist'

"To me, my hope is that we start looking outside of Hollywood and really make this a movement that will impact all women in the United States and all women in the world," Britton told TooFab.

Global Citizen, a movement Britton supports, campaigns to end gender inequality in all its forms around the world and you can take action on this issue here.

 
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Jan. 8, 2018

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May 31, 2017

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Aug. 9, 2016

Faced with a starving family, her father gave away his 6-year-old daughter in exchange for food. Read More

 
 
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FOOD & HUNGER

These 10 Humanitarian Crises Are Getting Worse in 2018

Ongoing conflicts, famine, and ethnic cleansing affect millions worldwide.

JAN. 12, 2018

Brought to you by: IRIN

GENEVA -- From the Rohingya to South Sudan, hurricanes to famine, 2017 was full of disasters and crises. But 2018 is shaping up to be even worse. Here’s why.

The UN has appealed for record levels of funding to help those whose lives have been torn apart, but the gap between the funding needs and the funding available continues to grow.

And what makes the outlook especially bad for 2018 is that the political will needed to resolve conflicts, welcome refugees, and address climate change also appears to be waning. What a difference a year, a new US president, and a German election make.

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Here’s our insider take on 10 crises that will shape the humanitarian agenda in 2018 (See 2017’s list here):

Syria’s sieges and displacement

As Syria heads towards seven years of war and Western governments quietly drop their demands for political transition, it has become increasingly clear that President Bashar al-Assad will stay in power, at least in some capacity.

But that doesn’t mean the violence or suffering is over: pockets of resistance are still being starved into submission and being denied aid – nearly three million Syrians still live in areas the UN defines as besieged or “hard to reach” (see: eastern Ghouta right now), while chemical weaponsare deployed to horrifying effect.

Read More: This Syrian Doctor Is Building an Underground Hospital for Women and Girls

There’s talk of reconstruction where the fighting has fizzled out, be it in areas brought under the government’s control or in cities like Raqqa, which is now controlled by Kurdish forces but has a mixed population that is beginning to come home, to utter destruction.

Investors are lining up for a slice of the rebuilding pie. But an average of 6,550 Syrians were displaced by violence each day in 2017. So what of the 6.1 million and counting displaced inside Syria – many sheltering in tents or unfinished buildings and facing another long winter – not to mention the 5.5 million refugees abroad? Will they have a say in how Syria is rebuilt? With reconstruction already a major bone of contention in peace talks and the EU planning to get involved in 2018, how this plays out is important and worth watching.

Congo unravels

You know the situation is bad when people start fleeing their homes, and it doesn’t get much worse than the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Here, violence in its eastern provinces has triggered the world’s worst displacement crisis – for a second year in a row. More than 1.7 million people abandoned their farms and villages this year, on top of 922,000 in 2016. The provinces of North Kivu, South Kivu, Kasai, and Tanganyika are the worst affected and the epicentres of unrest in the country.

Read More: In ‘Rape Capital of the World,’ 12 Soldiers Convicted of Raping Children

New alliances of armed groups have emerged to take on a demoralised government army and challenge President Joseph Kabila in distant Kinshasa. He refused to step down and hold elections in 2016 when his constitutionally mandated two-term limit expired – and the political ambition of some of these groups is to topple him. These rebellions are a new addition to the regular lawlessness of armed groups and conflict entrepreneurs that have stalked the region for years. It is a confusing cast of characters, in which the army also plays a freelance role and, as IRIN reported this month, as an instigator of some of the rights abuses that are forcing civilians to flee.

As we enter 2018, more than 13 million people require humanitarian assistance and protection – that’s close to six million more people than at the start of 2017. Over three million people are severely food insecure in the Kasai region alone, their villages and fields looted. Aid is only slowly trickling in. The $812 million appeal for Congo is less than 50 percent funded. That lack of international commitment represents the single largest impediment to the humanitarian response.

Yemen slips further towards famine

If we repeat the words “world’s worst humanitarian crisis” so often that they starting to lose gravity, here are a few numbers that might help hammer home just how grim life has become after more than two and a half years of war in Yemen, a country of more than 29 million: 8.4 million people are on the verge of starvation; 400,000 children have severe acute malnutrition (that’s as bad as it gets), and more than 5,500 civilians have been killed.

Read More: Yemen’s Cholera Outbreak Hits 1 Million Cases

Last January, we warned Yemen was at serious risk of sliding into famine. That now seems a near-certainty and may be unfolding right now, with the Saudi Arabian-led coalition continuing to restrict or at least delay commercial imports of food and fuel (among other goods), causing prices to shoot up and meaning those on the margin no longer have enough cash to buy the bare necessities.

And what of that cholera epidemic that killed 2,226 and infected nearly a million since April before receding? Nobody has been vaccinated, fuel shortages mean less clean water, and the rainy season is coming. All of this combines to create a real risk that the disease will make a comeback. Diphtheria is on the rise, too. None of this happens in a vacuum: without proper nutrition, Yemenis are increasingly susceptible to illness.

South Sudan – it could get even worse

A much-anticipated ceasefire in South Sudan didn’t last long.

It came into effect at midnight on Christmas Eve, and a few hours later government and rebel forces were fighting around the northern town of Koch in Unity State. The violence hasn’t derailed the peace talks underway in Addis Ababa, but it does point to how difficult it will be for the internationally-backed diplomatic process to shape events on the ground.

Read More: Famine Is Making South Sudan the ‘Fastest Growing Refugee Crisis’

The ceasefire is between President Salva Kiir and several rebel groups, but confidence is low that negotiations can bring a quick and decisive end to a war entering its fifth year.

South Sudan has fragmented, with a host of ethnic militias emerging with shifting loyalties. The various members of this so-called “gun class” all want a seat at the table, in the belief that any future agreement will be based on a power-sharing deal and a division of the country’s resources along the lines of the last failed settlement.

The international community lacks leverage and neighbouring countries don’t have the unity of purpose necessary to achieve a broad-based and sustainable peace agreement.

What that means is that more refugees – on top of an existing two million – will continue to pour across the country’s borders as the fighting season resumes.

It also means some seven million people inside the country – almost two thirds of the remaining population – will still need humanitarian assistance; hunger will also continue to threaten millions as a result of the war, displacement, and collapse of the rural economy. And yes, there will be the threat of renewed famine.

One final ingredient in the brew of despair is that the humanitarian community’s access to those in need will be constrained by both the prevailing insecurity and the government’s cynical taxationof aid operations.

CAR – where humanitarians fear to tread

There are many reasons why Central African Republic was officially the unhappiest country in the world in 2017.

You can start with the 50 percent increase in the number of displaced, bringing the total to 633,000 people. Then there are the more than two million hungry people, and the half a million who have figured it’s just too hard to stay and have left for neighbouring countries.

Read More: ‘Dark Magic’: Why Vulnerable People Are Tortured, Exiled, and Murdered All Over the World

It’s not much fun being an aid worker either. In November another humanitarian worker was killed in the north of the country, bringing to 14 the number to have died this year. The level of violence has forced aid agencies to repeatedly suspend operations as their personnel, convoys, and bases are deliberately targeted.

Behind the insecurity is a four-year conflict between competing armed groups that neither a weak government nor an under-staffed UN peacekeeping mission can contain. It pits mainly Muslim ex-Séléka rebels against Christian anti-Balaka, but some of the worst fighting has its roots in the splintering of the Séléka coalition and a feud between former allies.

The violence across the country boils down to the lucrative control of natural resources and the taxes the groups raise from checkpoints. Such is the insecurity that the government’s writ doesn’t even cover all of the capital, Bangui.

Rohingya refugees in limbo; forgotten conflicts simmer elsewhere in Myanmar

After a catastrophic year in which more than 655,000 people were driven out of Myanmar’s Rakhine State, it’s hard to imagine 2018 could go any worse for the Rohingya minority.

But, with nearly a million Rohingya refugees crowded into overloaded settlements in southern Bangladesh, the new year brings a host of new questions.

Read More: After Fleeing Conflict, Refugee Women in Malaysia Face Growing Threat of Domestic Violence

The sudden exodus of refugees captured the world’s attention, but as the crisis shifts from emergency response to long-term survival, will the focus – and funding – keep pace with the pressing needs on the ground? Can the fragile settlements withstand a significant storm, or even the seasonal monsoon rains that will fall in a few short months? And will the Bangladeshi and Myanmar authorities try to make good on a plan to repatriate Rohingya refugees despite warnings from any number of aid groups, rights monitors, and UN agencies, and a troubling history of less-than-voluntary returns?

Read More: Girls as Young as 12 Married to Older Men in Worsening Rohingya Refugee Crisis

While Rakhine State smoulders, long-simmering conflicts continue to fly under the radar elsewhere in Myanmar. Clashes between Myanmar’s military and ethnic armed groups in the country’s north have escalated, largely out of the public spotlight. In northern Kachin and Shan states, some 100,000 people have been uprooted since 2011, when a government ceasefire with the Kachin Independence Army collapsed. Roughly 40 percent of these people live in areas outside government control. But Myanmar has also put limits on aid access to areas even under its authority, mirroring the more publicised restrictions in place in Rakhine. Buried somewhere is Myanmar’s long-stalled peace process involving myriad ethnic armed groups operating across the country. A new round of talks is set for later in January. But with only a handful of armed groups on board with a tenuous ceasefire agreement and other key players excluded entirely, a politically negotiated peace remains elusive.

Afghans return to flaring conflict

Afghanistan begins 2018 facing another volatile year.

Conflict has displaced more than one million Afghans over the last two years. But added to this are the ever-growing numbers of Afghans returning from (or rather kicked out of) Europe and neighbouring countries like Pakistan and Iran. They’re coming back to a country that the UN in August concluded was no longer in “post-conflict” mode but in active conflict once again, one where a resurgent Taliban and emboldened Islamic State-aligned militants vie for control as the government’s grasp weakens.

Read More: His School Was Burned Down. Now He’s Bringing Education to Thousands of Girls in Afghanistan.

The problem can be summarised in one ominous chart, which shows US military estimates that the Afghan government has influence in less than 57 percent of the country’s districts:

The raging conflict has had disastrous impacts on Afghan civilians. Last year saw civilian casualties soar to near record-high levels, and an escalating number of people were killed in attacks targeting places of worship – something the UN has called a “disturbing” new element to the violence. Healthcare continues to come under siege, with skirmishes severing access to hospitals and clinics, and aid workers caught in the crossfire.

The next 12 months could prove an even greater challenge. January is the start of Afghanistan’s food “lean season”, which will hit those already uprooted by conflict particularly hard. It’s now begrudgingly accepted that a viable peace settlement must include the Taliban – a once unthinkable suggestion – but there has been “no meaningful progress”. With parliamentary elections scheduled for July 2018, the battle for control of Afghanistan will continue on multiple fronts as the snows melt and the fighting resumes in earnest.

Venezuelan exodus to strain neighbours

The descent of Venezuela from oil-rich powerhouse to economic basketcase has been well chronicled.

Less thoroughly reported, partly due to media restrictions under the increasingly authoritarian rule of Hugo Chávez’s successor, President Nicolas Máduro, has been the extent of the humanitarian crisis. Shortages of basic goods and soaring inflation have led to growing reports of severe childhood malnutrition in addition to a general healthcare crisis, and to more than a million Venezuelans fleeing the country.

Read More: Venezuelan Gangs Are Using Food to Recruit Children

If 2017 was the year when the scale of crisis within Venezuela began to reveal itself, 2018 is set to be when the full effects are felt beyond its borders. The political situation underpinning this crisis is only likely to worsen. Elections, slated for December 2018, are expected to be brought forward and foisted upon a weary, hungry, and increasingly desperate electorate that is sharply divided. Unrest or government crackdowns will only send more Venezuelans pouring over the border. There are already signs that regional hospitality is wearing thin and of emergency camps being prepared. The International Monetary Fund predicted that Venezuela’s triple-digit inflation could soar to more than 2,300 percent in 2018. As the year closed out, opposition parties were barred from the election, a main opposition leader was banned from political activity for 15 years, and violent pro-democracy protests rocked the capital, Caracas. None of this augurs well.

Libya: Africa’s giant holding cell

An AU-EU summit at the end of 2017 seemed to offer a glimmer of hope for the 700,000 to one million migrants stuck in the nightmare that is Libya.

It produced a plan to repatriate those who want it, and to move others from squalid detention centres into better conditions.

Read More: The UK Is Accused of ‘Trapping’ Thousands of Refugees in Libya, Leaving Them Vulnerable to ‘Exploitation and Abuse’

Some flights home did subsequently take off, and a first group (of 162 refugees and migrants from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen) was even evacuated by the UN on 22 December from Libya to Italy. But we’ve yet to see how this scheme will play out, and there are some serious obstacles. Many migrants have nowhere safe to return to, and it’s not clear how a UN-backed government that controls little in the way of territory or popular support will manage to move and protect migrants in a country with multiple governments, militias, and tribes.

That the meeting even got press (in large part thanks to a CNN film of what appeared to be a slave auctions) in an oft-ignored country is a sign of how little the world cares about the mostly sub-Saharan African migrants in Libya, for whom kidnapping, extortion, and rape have become the norm.

European policy has largely focused on keeping migrants from boarding boats in the Mediterranean or reaching their shores – creating a situation that is bad enough for Libyans and shockingly worse for Africans. At the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron mooted a military and police initiative inside Libya, plus UN sanctions for people-smugglers. How this could actually work is anyone’s guess, and it seems unlikely to get at the source of many migrants’ woes: the lack of legal avenues to get out of the desperate situations that brought them to Libya’s hell in the first place.

A year of turmoil in Cameroon

It’s taken just over a year for political agitation in Cameroon’s anglophone region to turn into armed opposition against the government of President Paul Biya.

Separatism was only a fringe idea until the government cracked down hard on protesters demanding greater representation for the neglected minority region. Now, government soldiers are being killed, Biya is promising all-out war, and thousands of refugees are fleeing into neighbouring Nigeria.

Read More: Starved and Beaten: The Cost of Refusing to Be a Boko Haram Bomber

Anglophone Cameroon is becoming radicalised. Refugees recounting experiences of killings by the security forces talk of revenge, and commentators worry that the opportunity for negotiations with more moderate anglophone leaders – those pursuing a policy of civil disobedience and diplomatic pressure on Yaoundé – may be rapidly shrinking.

If the government believes there is a military solution to the activists’ demands for an independent “Ambazonia”, made up of the two anglophone regions of western Cameroon, they may well be mistaken. Where the separatists’ training camps are being established, next to the Nigerian border, is a remote and heavily forested zone – ideal for guerrilla warfare.

Biya, 85 in February and in power for the past 35 years, is standing in elections once again in 2018. The “anglophone crisis” and the potential of an even larger refugee exodus will not only leave him politically damaged but could be regionally destabalising, especially as Nigeria faces its own separatist challenge.

This article originally appeared on IRINnews.org, a news agency specialised in reporting humanitarian crises.

 
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HEALTH

Serena Williams’ Scary Childbirth Story Is Part of a Larger Pattern of Discrimination Against Black Moms

An estimated 700 to 900 mothers die from childbirth in the US each year.

 JAN. 11, 2018

 

As a professional athlete, tennis star Serena Williams thrives in pressure situations. She showed us as much while winning an important semi-final game in last year’s Australian Open

But in life, as in sport, Williams has also shown grace under pressure, and it may have saved her life during her recent childbirth. In a wide-ranging interview with Vogue Magazine, Williams opened up about her complicated childbirth, which featured first a Cesarean section and later a life-threatening blood clot that Williams herself pointed out to doctors — a move that ultimately may have saved her life. 

“I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” Williams reportedly told doctors after they performed an ultrasound. 

“The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs,” Vogue reported. 

In response to the publication of the Vogue story, the nonprofit journalism outlet ProPublica pointed out that while Williams survived to tell her tale, the star could have fallen victim to a phenomenon that seems to affect black mothers at a far higher rate than white ones — maternal mortality. The organization has catalogued maternal mortality statistics in the United States and on Wednesday posted a powerful Twitter thread about the dangers mothers — and especially black mothers — face during childbirth. 

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Black mothers are 243% more likely than white mothers to die from pregnancy or complications related to childbirth in the United States, according to a report from ProPublica and NPR. In the state of New York, according to a related report, black women are three times more likely than white women to die during childbirth. In New York City, maternal mortality rates are 12 times higher for black mothers

The reason? The quality of care black mothers receive in hospitals that serve predominantly black mothers could play a major role. This is often compounded by a lethal combination of embedded racial segregation and unconscious bias. 

“[W]hile part of the disparity can be attributed to factors like poverty and inadequate access to health care, there is growing evidence that points to the quality of care at hospitals where a disproportionate number of black women deliver, which are often in neighborhoods disadvantaged by segregation,” the report found

For example, hospitals that serve high proportions of black mothers saw much higher death rates amongst mothers who suffered from hemorrhages than in primarily white-serving hospitals. In some cases, black women weren’t given blood thinning medicines, which help prevent blood clots, at predominantly black hospitals, while other hospitals make it mandatory to do so. 

Read More: Serena Williams’ Vanity Fair Cover Is a Celebration of Motherhood

Black mothers dying at high rates in pregnancy is part of a broader trend of rising maternal deaths due to pregnancy in the US. In 2016, an estimated 700 to 900 women, or about 26.4 per 100,000, died from pregnancy-related causes, making it the developed country with the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, according to ProPublica. 

In comparison, just 3.8 women for every 100,000 die due to childbirth complications in Finland. 

Worldwide, 99% of all maternal deaths take place in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The high number of maternal deaths in some areas of the world reflects inequities in access to health services, and highlights the gap between rich and poor,” the WHO reports. 

Read More: Malala and Serena Williams Are Getting Their Own Constellations

This brings us back to Williams. After Williams experienced shortness of breath the day after giving birth, she immediately told her doctors about her discomfort and was able to get a CT scan and heparin drip, according to Vogue. She received six straight days of treatment, and was able to take advantage of six weeks of recovery in bed. 

For too many black mothers in the US health care system, and for the 830 women who die from pregnancy-related complications around the world each day, this sort of care is often simply not available. 

t’s estimated that up to 60% of maternal deaths are preventable,” ProPublic wrote in its Twitter thread. “But one way to prevent them is to talk to and learn from the women who have nearly died from these complications.” 

Global Citizen campaigns on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, including goal number three, good health and well-being, which calls for countries to reduce global maternal mortality ratio below 70 maternal deaths for every 100,000 childbirths. You can join us and call on world leaders to prioritize maternal and child health here

 
 
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GIRLS & WOMEN

Natalie Portman’s Subtle Dig at the Golden Globes Makes an Important Point

“Here are the all-male nominees.”

 JAN. 8, 2018

 

And the award for keeping it the realest goes to...Natalie Portman. 

On Sunday, Portman took the 2018 Golden Globes by storm while presenting the winners of the award for Best Director. Following Oprah Winfrey’s powerful speech about sexual harassment, discrimination, and women’s empowerment, Portman joined Ron Howard on stage to present the sought-after distinction. 

“We are honored ... to be here to present the award for best director," Howard said. 

“And here are the all-male nominees,” Portman added, stone-faced. 

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With these seven words, Portman made a critical point about the lack of women in Hollywood not only on screen, but behind the camera, as well. 

 

via GIPHY

No woman has won Best Director at the Golden Globes since, wait for it, 1984. That year, 34 years ago, Barbra Streisand won the award for her film, “Yentl.” That was the first and last time a woman would win the award. 

In this, the award show’s 75th iteration, only seven women have ever been nominated for Best Director, according to TIME Magazine

At the Oscars, which have been going on since the 1920s, just four women have been nominated, with one woman — Kathryn Bigelow — winning the distinction of best director, TIME reports. 

Read More: ‘Wonder Woman’ Director Claps Back After James Cameron Calls Film a ‘Step Backwards’

Among this year’s nominees (Guillermo Del Toro, Martin McDonagh, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott, and Steven Spielberg) there were no women, even though several female directors could have easily made the cut. These women include, perhaps most notably, Greta Gerwig, director of “Lady Bird,” and Patty Jenkins, director of “Wonder Woman.”

It shouldn’t be too surprising that so few women have been nominated for the award, given the dearth of women directors in the first place. 

Women directed just 7% of the 250 highest-grossing films in 2016, according to a report by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

Dr. Martha Lauzen, who directed the study, attributed this disparity to both bias — female-directed films are considered to be riskier in the industry — and a lack of opportunity for women directors. Despite relative success on individual films, women-directed films are often considered “one and done” and women are less likely to continue directing films later in their careers, the report showed

 

via GIPHY

This pattern is nothing new. According to a different study from the University of Southern California Annenberg, male directors in Hollywood have outnumbered female ones by almost 24 to one in the past decade, Vanity Fair reports

Read More: 20 Incredible Films Directed by Women That You Should Be Watching

After a flagship year for women in 2016 that saw millions around the world take part in the Women’s March in January and women across social media share their stories of harassment and sexual assault using the hashtag #MeToo, the Golden Globes missed out on an opportunity to begin to correct for its persistent gender gap. 

But in other ways, the Golden Globes kicked off what could be another banner year for womenon a positive note. 

Oprah’s rousing speech on female empowerment led to speculation of a 2020 presidential run — though there’s no telling how much of that can be attributed to wishful thinking from her millions of fans. Many women wore black in a show of protest against rampant sexual harassment and assault in the industry. Others signed an open letter saying “time’s up” for gender discrimination and inequality. 

And last night, Streisand, the only woman ever to win a Golden Globe award for Best Director, announced the most prestigious award, Best Motion Picture, while sounding out a powerful message for equality

 

“I’m very proud to stand in a room with people who speak out against gender inequality, sexual harassment, and the pettiness that has poisoned our politics,” she said. “And I’m proud that our industry, when faced with uncomfortable truths, has vowed to change the ways we do business.”

The winner of that award? 

“Lady Bird.” 

 
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These tablets bring information and empowerment to women in rural Kenya
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TECHNOLOGY

These tablets bring information and empowerment to women in rural Kenya

7 November 2016 6:12PM UTC | By: GUEST BLOGGER

 
   

By Katie G. Nelson

Wearing brightly coloured clothes wrapped around their waists and rings of yellow and red necklaces around their necks, the semi-nomadic women of Samburu, Kenya, live much the same way their ancestors did: raising children, caring for livestock, and tending to the home.
elimu-2But in Samburu, one of the poorest and most isolated regions in Kenya, life is changing for the better, thanks in part to a few yellow tablets, some determination, and a little African-grown ingenuity.

The extreme heat, whipping dust storms, and parched land makes Samburu one of the most inhospitable regions in Kenya. The region known for game reserves and traditional Maasai culture is also known for lagging far behind the rest of Kenya’s education and literacy rates.

elimu-5Only 28.9 percent of Samburu’s residents can read and write, compared to the national average of 66.4 percent. The county also faces high dropout rates for female students due to early marriages and pregnancies.

Those geographically and educational obstacles might seem too big a challenge for many, but for the team at BRCK Education, Samburu was the ideal environment to catalyse change using technology.

elimu-3Piggybacking off the mission of their parent technology company BRCK, which makes rugged Wi-Fi hotspot and router systems, BRCK Education aims to expand connectivity to students in remote areas using Kio Kits, a go-anywhere, do-anything digital classroom in a box.

Contained in watertight black suitcases, each Kio Kit contains a powerful Wi-Fi router, headphones, a charging system, and 40 yellow tablets. Each tablet is pre-loaded with digital content tailored to both local and international curriculum and can be used with or without internet. The kits are currently being used in 12 countries around the world.

Providing access to a wealth of information, no matter your location or income, is core to BRCK Education’s mission or expanding connectivity to isolated and off-the-grid communities around the globe, says Juliana Rotich, co-founder of BRCK.

“Access to information and access to education in general is a equaliser,” says Rotich. “We should be striving to more equality, and equality in those two areas.”

elimu-1For Nivi Sharma, BRCK Education President, the importance of the Kio Kit was even clearer after working in the village of Kiltamany in Samburu, Kenya.

Sharma first forged a relationship with a primary school in Kiltamany under her tech company eLimu, which cultivates and distributes an array of educational and learning content. Sharma was evaluating the impact of the Kio Kit on students and teachers at Kiltamany Primary School when she encountered a group of women from the nearby village who also wanted to learn using the Kio Kit tablets.

Despite the fact that only two of the women knew how to read or write, Sharma and her team decided to leave one tablet with the group; and the results were remarkable.

Upon returning to Samburu several months later, Sharma discovered the women had formed a school that met once a week after they finished fetching water.

“And they had learned to write their own names,” she says. 

Sharma continued following the Samburu women, many of whom learned basic math and later how to read and write, she says.

“The women were saying,  ‘I can’t believe I missed out on this. I now understand that my husband had four goats and he was selling them each at 4,000 shillings. He should’ve brought home 16,000 shillings, not 15,000 shillings.”brck

“We realised that they understood immediately the educational and empowering possibilities of technology not just for their children, but for themselves as well,” Sharma writes.

 But the impact of the Kio Kit wasn’t limited to the classroom, Sharma explains.

“The really interesting thing was we spoke to the (primary school) head teacher and he said the enrolment of girls just shot up because the women are suddenly saying, ‘Oh my god, I don’t want my daughter to miss out on this.’”

elimu-4For girls and women, the opportunity to access any information anytime and anywhere is critical to expanding career opportunities—or even the possibilities—for a life beyond Samburu.

“When you think of the four walls of a classroom, if a girl is curious about something and all her curiosity is contained within those four walls—and the teacher and the textbooks in front of her—that’s really limiting,” says Sharma.

“What digital access means is that she’s able to express and explore her curiosity. To let her voice be heard in a way that traditionally isn’t.”

Call on leaders and innovators from all countries, industries and communities to make universal internet access a reality by adding your name now.

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These women’s rights activists inspire us to fight for equality
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GIRLS AND WOMEN

These women’s rights activists inspire us to fight for equality

February 9 2017 | By: SAMANTHA URBAN

 
   

Right now, our newsfeeds are packed with incredible stories of women taking action. To honor the persistence and drive of those women, we’re taking a look at some truly influential women’s rights activists:

Suffragists around the world

Arrival_Envoys_from_San_F_159036v-1024x7

A 1915 photograph of large crowd of suffragists on Capitol steps, some with banners, one with American flag, some in academic gowns, overseen by two uniformed policemen. (Photo credit: Public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

Suffrage has been a worldwide movement with countless determined activists organizing for the right to vote in their respective countries. (See the timeline of women’s suffrage here.)For example, activists like Millicent Fawcett and Emmeline Pankhurst in the United Kingdom and Alice Paul and Lucy Burns in the United States organized marches and demonstrations in order to fight for the right of women to vote in their respective countries.

Lillian Ngoyi (1911 – 1980)

lillian_blog-1024x644.png

This anti-apartheid activist in South Africa organized marches for women’s rights, including one with 20,000 women to the Union Buildings of Pretoria in protest against the apartheid government requiring women to carry passbooks. A President of the Women’s League, she went on to be the first woman elected to the executive committee of the African National Congress, and helped launch the Federation of South African Women.

Elizabeth “Betita” Martinez (1925 – )

Elizabeth_S_Marti%CC%81nez.png

(Photo credit: Jerome Rainey/Wikimedia Commons)

The first Latina student to graduate from Swarthmore College, Elizabeth worked as a researcher in the United Nations Secretariat in the 1950s, and as a coordinator for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. (She was one of only two Latina women who worked for the SNCC.) Since moving to California in 1976, Martínez has organized around Latino community issues, taught Women’s Studies, conducted anti-racist training workshops, and worked with youth groups — she even ran for governor in 1982.

Manasi Pradhan (1962 – )

Manasi_Pradhan_with_Dr._Nirmala_Deshpand

Women’s rights activist Manasi Pradhan with social activist Padma Vibhushan. (Photo credit: Sravanimohanty/Wikimedia Commons)

Known as one of the pioneers of the 21st century global feminist movement, Manasi founded two major organizations: OYSS Women, which aimed to help female students achieve higher education and develop them as future leaders in the society, and the Honour for Women National Campaign, a nationwide movement to end violence against women in India.

Malala Yousafsai (1997 – )

Malala_Yousafzai-1024x683.jpg

As part of WOW 2014, Malala Yousafzai talked about the systemic nature of gender inequality and bringing about change. (Photo credit: Southbank Centre/Wikimedia Commons)

This inspirational Pakistani woman was attacked by the Taliban because she was a vocal advocate for girls’ education. Today, she continues to campaign for women’s rights and is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate.

ONE members (2004 – )

YA-2016-Summit-Stunt.jpeg

While the above list of women show the power that just one person has to make a huge difference, our members remind us of the power we have in numbers, as well. For more than 10 years, our members have been campaigning and organizing to fight poverty and preventable disease. Together, they have stood together and told world leaders that poverty is sexist. This year, they’ll keep fighting for the rights of girls around the world to get the education they deserve. Join them today.

Did we leave out your favorite activist? Tell us about them in the comments!

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SAMANTHA URBAN
February 9 2017

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EDUCATION

If education is in a state of emergency, where are the first responders?

September 20 2017 | By: ROXY PHILSON

 
   

Upon visiting the country last month, Malala Yousafzai was painfully correct in calling an education emergency in Nigeria. But we can and should go further. The situation is extreme in Nigeria, but truthfully, there is a global girls’ education emergency.

Right now, it screams in silence. We need to give voice to it before this injustice destroys a generation’s future and sets back progress and peace on many fronts for us all.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for progress on the global education crisis is that while everyone understands its importance, the absence of it isn’t seen on our newsfeeds or reported from live from the scene. It is a slow, relatively quiet, but extreme loss of opportunity.

emergency1.jpg

Students outside Nyange Secondary School, Kilombero Region, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Sam Vox/ONE)

As a campaigner, I’ve worked on killer diseases like HIV, malaria, pneumococcal disease, and rotavirus. While there is more to be done on these issues, their desperation is easier to convey to the public and politicians alike. Rubbish education systems don’t have a direct body count to compel urgent action.

But the facts should urge for a change: 130 million girls are out of school when they should be in, and half a billion women can’t read or write. Millions more are in school but learning either nothing or little of value, especially considering the realities of the future world of work — and the focus on STEM subjects, in particular.

If the facts don’t shout loud enough, the people and their stories do. One that recently shook me to the core was that of Amina, a 20-year-old woman in northern Nigeria. She is a mother of six who lost her husband to Boko Haram. The question that demands an answer from us all is, who will now educate Amina’s children? Will it be Amina, with the help of her government and an international system that recognises this emergency? Or will it be Boko Haram and their dystopic take on what education means?

emergency2.jpg

(Photo credit: Sam Vox/ONE)

The population of Nigeria, like that of the rest of Africa, will double over the next generation, having just doubled over the last generation. This youth boom demands investment or a generation that could be powering global economic growth may be lost to anger, frustration, and mass displacement — fuelling conflict, not progress.

If all that seems too much to bear, the good news is that there are mechanisms in search of funding today that can help get these kids an education. The Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait are ready to scale up, with further funding possible from the World Bank and newly proposed International Financing Facility for Education.

Like too many sectors in development, there’s an acronym soup of initiatives that need stronger alignment and greater accountability through clear, open, real-time data — but it is getting there.

emergency3.jpg

A student at Nyange Secondary School, Kilombero Region, Tanzania. (Photo credit: Sam Vox/ONE)

Of course, the most important leadership comes from African governments themselves and their ability to prove that taxes paid within a country go to provide decent education for their citizens. Decent education for the next generation is at the heart of every nation’s basic social contract, and at that of the global community. That’s why it was exciting to see President Sall of Senegal and President Macron of France announce today that they will co-host the replenishment for the Global Partnership for Education in Dakar on February 8, 2018. When domestic leadership aligns with international support and focuses on outcomes for Amina and her kids, all our futures improve.

This won’t happen with well-intentioned wishful thinking, nor slightly more money for some small fry fund, or even yet another pilot project. To act on a scale proportionate to the need, education has to take centre stage with innovative solutions scaled and some risks taken. Education must be seen as the pre-eminent issue for the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals — for it is here that the battle for progress and peace for everyone on this planet will really take place. Please help sound the education emergency alarm.

If education is in a state of emergency, where are the first responders?

 

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Music Generation
 

NEWS

This is extremely positive news for music education in Ireland and a fine example of how partnerships across sectors – local, public, private and philanthropic can deliver long term benefits in different sectors.
- An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny

← return to news

15/12/2017

Job opportunity: Music Generation Development Officer (Wexford)

Job opportunity: Music Generation Development Officer (Wexford)

Waterford & Wexford Education and Training Board(WWETB) is now inviting applications for the position of Music Generation Development Officer (Wexford).

Appointed by WWETB, the Music Generation Development Officer will be responsible for managing an extensive performance music education programme on behalf of Wexford Music Education Partnership.

County Wexford has recently been selected for participation in Music Generation – Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, which is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.

Three-year fixed-term contract.

Application form, job description and person specification available online: www.waterfordwexford.etb.ie

Closing date for receipt of completed application forms: Monday, 15 January 2018

Late applications will not be accepted.

Based on the volume of applications received short-listing may apply. Short-listing will take place on the basis of the information provided in the application form. Depending on the qualifications and experience of applicants, short-listing thresholds may be significantly higher than the minimum standards set out.

Waterford & Wexford ETB is an equal opportunities employer. 

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Ireland's National Music Education Programme. A Music Network Initiative, co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds,The Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships

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© Music Generation DAC. All Rights Reserved. Registered in Ireland No. 491331. Charity Reg. No. CHY 19679.
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Let's talk about sex

11 December 2017
Nayyara Tabassum & Carla Barrett

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  1.  
  2. Stories

Sexuality is a human right. Yet, all too often, the sexual needs of people with a learning disability are not acknowledged.

We've compiled some frequently asked questions regarding the sexuality of people with a learning disability.

  • Do people with a learning disability have sexual needs?

Of course! People with a learning disability may be straight, LGBTQ or asexual. But regardless of their sexuality, everyone has the right to express their sexual needs and sexuality in a safe and legal way.

  • Why are personal and sexual relationships important to people with a learning disability?

They're important because they provide people with fulfilment, improve their self-esteem and help reduce loneliness. They can also reduce health risks, such as depression, high blood pressure and higher mortality risk.

  • What sexual rights do people with a learning disability have?

Just like everybody else, people with a learning disability have sexual rights, which need to be affirmed, defended and respected (WHO 2006). These rights were enshrined in UK law by the Human Rights Act (HM Government 1998). The UNCRPD explicitly enshrines the rights of disabled people to a family and the Mental Capacity Act (2005) supports the rights of people with a learning disability to engage in consensual sex.

  • What barriers do people with a learning disability face in their personal and sexual relationships?

Sex Education: Many people with a learning disability may not have been taught about sexual health, contraception, LGBTQ relationships, masturbation and legal and emotional aspects of sex. They often do not receive accessible sex education information.

Poor knowledge of sex and relationships can lead to people engaging in unsafe sexual practices, and lack of awareness to report sexual abuse.

Socio-Cultural Barriers: People with a learning disability often are not given the privacy to pursue personal and sexual relationships.

LGBTQ people with a learning disability may experience bullying or harassment and may not be welcomed at LGBTQ spaces.

Furthermore, sex education resources and campaigns for people with a learning disability may not be designed with the specific needs of lesbian, gay or bisexual people in mind, and instead treat everybody as heterosexual.

  • What are the best practices to help people with a learning disability in their personal and sexual relationships?

Understanding sexuality as a human right: Sexuality rights of people with a learning disability can be supported through good sex education, respect and privacy.

Positive Attitudes: Non-judgemental attitudes would let people with a learning disability express their feelings around their sexuality and their sexual needs.

Guidance and Training: Training materials should be provided in accessible or Easy Read formats and include explanatory pictures and videos.

Social Support Opportunities: Besides relying on family and support workers, social opportunities should be provided through peer-to-peer volunteering schemes such as Gig Buddies, or social support clubs and groups.

Please contact the Research team for further questions. We're happy to help answer your questions or signpost you to places that can provide the right information and support.

 

My biggest challenge

I used to think that my disability held me back, but later on, I saw it as a strength.
Read more
 

Gig Buddies

Do you live in Norwich or Long Eaton? Would you like to be a Gig Buddy?
Read more
 

Leisure - research and statistics

Read latest research and statistics about leisure and people with a learning disability
Read more
 
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Let's talk about sex

11 December 2017
Nayyara Tabassum & Carla Barrett

Breadcrumb

  1.  
  2. Stories

Sexuality is a human right. Yet, all too often, the sexual needs of people with a learning disability are not acknowledged.

We've compiled some frequently asked questions regarding the sexuality of people with a learning disability.

  • Do people with a learning disability have sexual needs?

Of course! People with a learning disability may be straight, LGBTQ or asexual. But regardless of their sexuality, everyone has the right to express their sexual needs and sexuality in a safe and legal way.

  • Why are personal and sexual relationships important to people with a learning disability?

They're important because they provide people with fulfilment, improve their self-esteem and help reduce loneliness. They can also reduce health risks, such as depression, high blood pressure and higher mortality risk.

  • What sexual rights do people with a learning disability have?

Just like everybody else, people with a learning disability have sexual rights, which need to be affirmed, defended and respected (WHO 2006). These rights were enshrined in UK law by the Human Rights Act (HM Government 1998). The UNCRPD explicitly enshrines the rights of disabled people to a family and the Mental Capacity Act (2005) supports the rights of people with a learning disability to engage in consensual sex.

  • What barriers do people with a learning disability face in their personal and sexual relationships?

Sex Education: Many people with a learning disability may not have been taught about sexual health, contraception, LGBTQ relationships, masturbation and legal and emotional aspects of sex. They often do not receive accessible sex education information.

Poor knowledge of sex and relationships can lead to people engaging in unsafe sexual practices, and lack of awareness to report sexual abuse.

Socio-Cultural Barriers: People with a learning disability often are not given the privacy to pursue personal and sexual relationships.

LGBTQ people with a learning disability may experience bullying or harassment and may not be welcomed at LGBTQ spaces.

Furthermore, sex education resources and campaigns for people with a learning disability may not be designed with the specific needs of lesbian, gay or bisexual people in mind, and instead treat everybody as heterosexual.

  • What are the best practices to help people with a learning disability in their personal and sexual relationships?

Understanding sexuality as a human right: Sexuality rights of people with a learning disability can be supported through good sex education, respect and privacy.

Positive Attitudes: Non-judgemental attitudes would let people with a learning disability express their feelings around their sexuality and their sexual needs.

Guidance and Training: Training materials should be provided in accessible or Easy Read formats and include explanatory pictures and videos.

Social Support Opportunities: Besides relying on family and support workers, social opportunities should be provided through peer-to-peer volunteering schemes such as Gig Buddies, or social support clubs and groups.

Please contact the Research team for further questions. We're happy to help answer your questions or signpost you to places that can provide the right information and support.

 

My biggest challenge

I used to think that my disability held me back, but later on, I saw it as a strength.
Read more
 

Gig Buddies

Do you live in Norwich or Long Eaton? Would you like to be a Gig Buddy?
Read more
 

Leisure - research and statistics

Read latest research and statistics about leisure and people with a learning disability
Read more
 
footer-background.jpg
 

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400

5 gender equality campaigns you need to get behind in 2018

9 January 2018 12:25PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

 
   

We promised you that 2018 would be the year our gloves came off, and we’re not the only ones ready to fight — for women’s rights, that is.

Around the world, people are joining forces and raising their voices together to speak up for equality and speak out against misogyny, sexism, violence against women and human rights abuses.

If you think a world where women and men are equal sounds pretty cool, here are five campaigns working to make this a reality that you need to get behind:

He for She

 

This movement, initiated by UN Women, aims to engage boys and men because gender equality doesn’t discriminate — it affects both sexes. Since its launch, over 1.3 million (and counting!) actions advocating for a more gender equal world have been completed. Be part of the change here.

Women’s March

 

On January 21, 2017, millions of women and men across the globe marched together in an effort to generate transformative social change — and it worked. Why? Because the Women’s March wasn’t just a march, it was the spark that started a fire. Get involved with their 2018 activities here.

#EndFGM

 

Around the world, a grassroots, Africa-led movement is happening to end female genital mutilation (FGM) within a generation. With incredible organisations like The Girl Generation leading the charge, it’s clear that progress is possible. Learn more about how you can #EndFGM here.  

Times Up

 

A brand new movement created in the wake of #MeToo seeks to address the systemic inequalities and injustices women experience in the workplace around the world. Times Up will raise awareness about these experiences AND provide valuable subsidies towards legal support for individuals that bring legal action against perpetrators of sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace. To find out how you can get involved, check out their site.

Poverty is Sexist

 

We know sexism is global – and we know the fight against it should be too.

Our #PovertyIsSexist campaign aims to break down the barriers that keep women and girls in the world’s poorest countries from achieving their full potential.

If YOU agree that none of us are equal until all of us are equal, then join the movement today.

Tell world leaders: ACT NOW for 130 million girls out of school

Dear World Leaders, 130 million girls are out of school - this is a crisis and we need to act. Please fully finance the Global Partnership for Education as part of the solution so it can help millions of girls in the poorest countries get the education they deserve.

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By signing you agree to ONE’s privacy policy, including to the transfer of your information to ONE.org’s servers in the United States.

You agree to receive occasional updates about ONE’s campaigns. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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400

5 gender equality campaigns you need to get behind in 2018

9 January 2018 12:25PM UTC | By: ROBYN DETORO

 
   

We promised you that 2018 would be the year our gloves came off, and we’re not the only ones ready to fight — for women’s rights, that is.

Around the world, people are joining forces and raising their voices together to speak up for equality and speak out against misogyny, sexism, violence against women and human rights abuses.

If you think a world where women and men are equal sounds pretty cool, here are five campaigns working to make this a reality that you need to get behind:

He for She

 

This movement, initiated by UN Women, aims to engage boys and men because gender equality doesn’t discriminate — it affects both sexes. Since its launch, over 1.3 million (and counting!) actions advocating for a more gender equal world have been completed. Be part of the change here.

Women’s March

 

On January 21, 2017, millions of women and men across the globe marched together in an effort to generate transformative social change — and it worked. Why? Because the Women’s March wasn’t just a march, it was the spark that started a fire. Get involved with their 2018 activities here.

#EndFGM

 

Around the world, a grassroots, Africa-led movement is happening to end female genital mutilation (FGM) within a generation. With incredible organisations like The Girl Generation leading the charge, it’s clear that progress is possible. Learn more about how you can #EndFGM here.  

Times Up

 

A brand new movement created in the wake of #MeToo seeks to address the systemic inequalities and injustices women experience in the workplace around the world. Times Up will raise awareness about these experiences AND provide valuable subsidies towards legal support for individuals that bring legal action against perpetrators of sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace. To find out how you can get involved, check out their site.

Poverty is Sexist

 

We know sexism is global – and we know the fight against it should be too.

Our #PovertyIsSexist campaign aims to break down the barriers that keep women and girls in the world’s poorest countries from achieving their full potential.

If YOU agree that none of us are equal until all of us are equal, then join the movement today.

Tell world leaders: ACT NOW for 130 million girls out of school

Dear World Leaders, 130 million girls are out of school - this is a crisis and we need to act. Please fully finance the Global Partnership for Education as part of the solution so it can help millions of girls in the poorest countries get the education they deserve.

ADD YOUR NAME

Name
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992
EDUCATION

Zipora started a coffee co-op that’s transforming her community

February 14 2017 | By: GUEST BLOGGER

 
   

Story and photos by Gaius Kowene

Zipora Nyituriki stands in the library of Akilah Institute, an East African college with a mission of empowering young women in leadership roles. As the only women’s college in Burundi and Rwanda, Akilah offers a rare chance for students like Zipora to change their lives. Of the girls enrolled, 97 percent are the first in their family to receive higher education.

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Information System students at the Akilah Institute, in Kigali, Rwanda.

Sitting in a wooden chair with her elbows on the table, Zipora smiles as her eyes scan the library’s shelves. She’s trying to find a book on agribusiness. She has no class today and plans to spend the time taking care of her business.

At just 24 years old, Zipora has founded her own coffee co-operative, COOBAKAMU, which now has more than 400 coffee farmers working in the district of Muhanga in southern Rwanda.

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The coffee farm of a COBAKAMU member in Muhanga District, Southern Rwanda.

It’s an amazing achievement. Zipora’s from a rural area, and the youngest in a large family. She didn’t do well in high school, and her low grades meant she wasn’t offered a place at university. Studying at a private university was never an option as it was just too expensive. “I felt stuck,” she remembers.

But then she heard about Akilah Institute, and how its students have 70 percent of their fees covered via sponsorships. It seemed like her second chance. Zipora immediately filled out and sent off her application.

“I was very excited at the idea of finally going to university,” she says. But all of the available spots were already taken and Zipora’s application was rejected.

This wasn’t enough to deter her from her goal of higher education. Once Zipora discovered that Akilah had a second campus in neighboring Burundi, she left her home country of Rwanda to travel over the border to apply.

Her perseverance paid off: Zipora was accepted at the Burundi campus and spent the first year of her degree there before reapplying for the Kigali campus, where she was accepted into the entrepreneurship department.

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Zipora Nyituriki in front of Akilah Institute for Women in December 2016.

As she got further into her coursework, Zipora’s ideas for her future began to evolve.

“When studying market research and product design, my mind was always in my village, in Muhanga,” she says. In this part of Rwanda, farmers were producing tons of coffee beans they couldn’t sell due to long distances to processing plants.

“I really wanted to help them but was afraid they wouldn’t take me seriously as I’m very young,” she admits. “So I asked local leaders’ mediation.”

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Coffee in the field of a COBAKAMU member in Muhanga District, Southern Rwanda.

It turned out that the farmers were impressed with her knowledge of market conditions, and in February 2016, Zipora and Muhanga coffee farmers created a cooperative to support farmers in producing high-quality coffee.

“We produce between five to ten tons of coffee every month, have eight direct permanent employees, and several more during harvest,” she says.

Aline Kabanga is the director at Akilah Institute. For her, Zipora is just one example of what young women can do when they are educated and inspired.

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Aline Kabanga, Akilah Institute’s director, in her office in Kigali, Rwanda.

“We work on mindset and attitude so the girls can better shape their own lives,” she says. “Practical education based on the market’s skills gap is the most powerful weapon we can give to our girls.”

It’s certainly worked for Zipora, who’s planning on doubling the number of farmers benefiting from her business, and expanding into more sectors. Inspired by her school, she dreams of helping other girls overcome barriers in order to help their own communities, just like she has been able to do.

Zipora started a coffee co-op that’s transforming her community

 

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Why Connie Britton wore THIS sweater at the Golden Globes
1.8k
CULTURE

Why Connie Britton wore THIS sweater at the Golden Globes

January 7 2018 | By: MEAGAN BOND

 
   

The red carpet at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards was filled with celebrities dressed in black as a statement of solidarity with women and men who have faced sexual harassment. Connie Britton’s all-black ensemble included a sweater with “Poverty is Sexist” embroidered across the front. The sweater was made as part of a partnership with Lingua Franca.

 

Connie wore the sweater to bring awareness to ONE’s Poverty is Sexist campaign, which aims to put a stop to extreme poverty by breaking down the barriers holding girls and women back. The data shows that women and girls in developing countries are hit hardest by extreme poverty and helping them thrive is the most effective way to lift everyone out.

Connie has been a longtime champion of ONE and Poverty is Sexist. In March, she teamed up with Robin Wright to deliver ONE’s open letter demanding action on the critical global crisis of girls education at the United Nations. She also took part in ONE’s #GirlsCount video petition alongside Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson of 2 Dope Queens, and previously starred in ONE’s PSA calling for action on the Ebola crisis.

 

 

On a night when so many amazing activists are sending an important message about equality, we were proud and grateful to see Connie make such a powerful statement. It’s critical that the conversation about gender inequality include the women who are hit hardest by it. None of us are equal until all of us are equal.

Why Connie Britton wore THIS sweater at the Golden Globes

 

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AUTHOR

MEAGAN BOND
January 7 2018

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