Today, 8th March, is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day has been marked for well over a century, with the first gathering supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland. This year, for #IWD2018 the theme is #PressForProgress and the day has also always marked a global call to action to push for gender equity, including an end to Gender Based Violence (GBV) including Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), and Child Marriage. Whilst the day is a reason to celebrate women’s achievements, today also sees many protests around the world by both men and women seeking to highlight and address the ongoing inequalities women face in many areas of their lives.
Gender Equality is also one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals. These are goals supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity. The UNDP states “Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also crucial to accelerating sustainable development. It has been proven time and again, that empowering women and girls has a multiplier effect, and helps drive up economic growth and development across the board.”
In Tanzania, our programmes with partners NELICO and Plan Tanzania work specifically towards ending some of these harmful practices, which also put women and girls at greater risk of HIV. Geita and Tarime regions located in the north of Tanzania both have high rates of CM and FGM/C. TackleAfrica is working in these areas to combat these practices and educate local communities through our local partners, in the hope of eradicating these practices, and helping young girls realise their human rights.
Through local teachers and community leaders we are equipping young girls and boys with the skills, confidence, and knowledge to say no to CM and FGM/C. A major cause of these practices is the inequality which exists in communities between men and women, and boys and girls. Utilising classroom discussions and role play, alongside our interactive football sessions, we unpack why these inequalities persist, and how coaches and community leaders, in their positions of trust and respect, can change these behaviours and attitudes.
Programme Manager, Ash Phillips, tells us, “women’s empowerment and gender inequality, I believe, are the most pressing development causes in almost every society in the world, in both the global north and global south. Smaller communities and society at large need to cultivate environments where women are not just listened to, but are in positions of power to make lasting change. That will only ever happen when men contribute to the advancement of women’s rights and help women achieve them. Look around your community and see all the accomplishments that have been made; now imagine how much more could be accomplished if women had the same freedom, education, and opportunities as men.”
Join us today, in not only celebrating the achievements of women but also demanding progress towards SDG 5: Gender Equality. Mark your posts #IWD2018 and #PressForProgress and join the movement!
We’re now open for registrations at our famous football marathons, 12 hours of non-stop football, raising money for our programmes in Africa. Visit https://tackleafrica.org/football-marathons/ for details.