International Women’s Day—Being the Change we Want to See

When I was growing up, it was rare that any of my friends’ moms worked outside the home.  My elementary school, situated in the middle of “Wonder Years” style suburbia, didn’t even have a school cafeteria at the time.

You walked home for lunch.

But I was one of those rare kids who did have a mom who worked outside the home.  Frankly I thought it was pretty cool.  Plus I knew what a pain in the butt she’d been before deciding to return to the workforce.

She just wasn’t cut out to be a stay-at-home mom and was much happier in the business world.

You may have grown up with (or have) a working mother, or one who has, either temporarily or permanently, chosen to forgo a career in order to focus on raising a family. But whichever choice your mother made, chances are you remember her going to any lengths to keep you safe, clothed and fed, so that you could grow into a healthy and happy human being and (hopefully) a productive member of society.

But some moms, who also want to feed and provide for their kids just like your mom did, are facing hardships that make it nearly impossible. They’re among the one in seven people who go to bed hungry every night. That’s right, one in seven. And this isn’t because there isn’t enough food to go around. It’s because there are deep imbalances in access to resources like fertile lands and water. In fact, more than 40 percent of the world’s population – 2.5 billion people – live in poverty, and many of them are women.

Women who work hard, but can’t earn enough to feed their families; women whose hearts break when they see their children go hungry; women – half the people on earth – who need equal access to the resources that can help them overcome poverty.

Shockingly sad but true:

Sixty-six percent of the world’s work falls on women’s shoulders, yet they earn only 10% of the world’s income;
If women were given the same level of access to resources that men have, they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%;
Hunger and poverty are about power and inequality, and women and girls face the biggest inequalities of all.

This International Women’s Day, how about showing women everywhere you appreciate their contributions to our world? Oxfam America is giving you a couple of really easy ways to do this:

1. Send an International Women’s Day eCard to a woman you know, to say thank you for all that she does. Better yet, send it to several women who’ve made the world a better place.

2. Give the Oxfam America International Women’s Day 2012 award to a woman you think has made a difference to the world. She could be a teacher, your mom, a non-profit leader, a woman entrepreneur, the neighbor who always checks up on you when you’re ill… the possibilities are endless.

To give your award, just fill out the PDF file with the awardee’s name, and your name and date. You can then save it as a PDF or JPG (JPG if you want your readers to see the actual award) file. Then just publish a post to your blog, or to Facebook (make sure to tag her so she sees it), or wherever you’d like. You can even print it out and give it to her as a tangible reminder of your gratefulness.

If we come together, we may not be able to remove the imbalances between men and women immediately. But we will show women around the world… and in our own neighborhoods… that we care about them.

That’s not too much to ask for half the world’s population, is it?  Thanks.

3 Responses to “International Women’s Day—Being the Change we Want to See”

  1. […] give a woman an award for the difference they’ve made to your world. Thanks to Gini Dietrich and Pamela Grow for turning us on to this awesome […]

  2. Pam, thanks so much for helping to showcase Oxfam America’s (client) campaign – they do such terrific work and it’s really heartening to see nonprofit leaders like yourself supporting them. Kudos to everything you’ve achieved yourself as a strong and powerful woman, and for everything you do to help others!

  3. Thanks so much for raising awareness about such an important issue! Thanks also for highlighting the tools we have created for this International Women’s Day!