Lutheran World Relief is observing International Womens Day today as a time to celebrate and reflect on progress made in womens rights and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women.
Everyone is entitled to a life of dignity and justice, says Lutheran World Relief president Kathryn Wolford in a statement released by the group on Mar. 8. All too often, women are invisible, their rights and dignity systematically denied. By incorporating aspects of gender equity into all of our work, we are transforming the lives not just of women, but of families and entire communities.
Celebrated for nearly a century, International Womens Day connects all women around the world and inspires them to achieve their full potential, states the IWD website.
In honor of the day, LWR highlighted some of its ongoing work with women including a Women-to-Women delegation to be held in partnership with Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America next year in January in Tanzania where they will learn about issues faced by women in the country.
Another program, in Niger, helps nomadic communities avert future food crisis which includes using local womens associations, known as habbanyes, to restock animal herds. The women in the association are also receiving literacy training, learning book keeping, and learning to mobilize their communities to work together for a common good.
In Colombia, LWR works with women who have been displaced due to conflict.
Gender equality is a theme throughout all of LWRs international programs, according to the group. LWR points out that research has shown that focusing on women in development work is often the best way to reduce child mortality; improve family health, nutrition, and education; stem the spread of HIV/AIDS; build robust and self-sustaining community organizations; and encourage grassroots democracy.