Invest in women and girls: 10 Meaningful actions for inclusion of women and girls

Reading Time: 6 min read

By Ms Frances J. Ferreira
Senoir Advsier: Women and Girls COL

International Women’s Day, 8 March 2024, is a galvanizing moment for us to create a more inclusive world for women and girls. This year’s theme, ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’, inspires us to invest in women and girls and integrate them into traditionally exclusive spaces. The Commonwealth of Learning’s Empowering Women and Girls project is actively working towards investing in women, girls and persons with disabilities through the following impactful actions that can make a lasting difference:

  1. Applying a gender and intersectionality lens to understand how social roles and identities, as well as factors like race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability, language and religion, shape women and girls’ unique needs, experiences, form barriers and challenge us to cater our interventions accordingly.
  1. Using gender-disaggregated data to discern gender-specific trends in areas like health, education, employment and social well-being. This data aids in understanding how women’s experiences differ from men’s in the target countries.
  1. Co-creating programs and policies to address the needs of women and girls by empowering them to co-create solutions to their challenges and fostering safe spaces for them to participate in decision-making, leadership, and community development.
  1. Providing opportunities for quality education to women and girls by supporting access to education, promoting participation in fields like STEM, reducing attendance barriers, and fostering community support given there are currently 129 million girls out of school, including 97 million that should be in secondary school.
  1. Advocating for economic empowerment of women and girls through addressing workplace barriers for women, such as pay disparity and underrepresentation, and advocating for policies promoting women’s economic participation and partnering with various entities to support equal pay, early childhood centres and entrepreneurship for women’s empowerment.
  1. Improving access to healthcare by collaborating with health authorities to enhance access to reproductive, maternal and mental health services for women, girls and persons with disabilities as globally, women and girls continue to face barriers in accessing quality healthcare, with around 800 women dying every day from pregnancy or childbirth in 2020.
  1. Increasing participation of women and girls in leadership roles by launching an online Women in Leadership course given that leadership, in all spheres, is still male dominated, where only 5 per cent of parliamentarians globally are women. Additionally, a webinar was hosted on 5 March 2024 to celebrate International Women’s Day and empower women globally.
  1. Ending gender-based violence by addressing violence against women through a holistic approach, training men and boys and community members on Gender-Based Violence prevention and gender equality. The aim is to reach 400,000 community members through raising awareness, changing social norms and fostering inclusivity.
  1. Building a legal framework that promotes equity by lobbying lawmakers for laws protecting women and girls, including anti-discrimination measures, prohibitions on child marriage and gender-based violence, and enforcement mechanisms.
  1. Advocating for women and girls in daily life and understanding that consistent advocacy for women and girls’ inclusion is crucial every day. 

As International Women’s Day is a day each year dedicated to celebration and reflection, we must remember the potential and significance of small actions. Where in the inspiring words of Julia Carney, “Little drops of water, Little grains of sand, Make the mighty ocean, And the pleasant land.”

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