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Interview-An overview of the situation

I had the pleasure to interview my friend Valentina, who is an expert in women issues and now works as Event Webcasting/Live-streaming Producer in the UN - International Women's Rights Action Watch in Geneva. Really insightful and inspiring overview.

Photo of Carmen Escano
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Key points:
  • Women and girls in many parts of the developing world are highly unfranchised.  This simply means that societies have systematically excluded women and girls from receiving equal and fair access to basic rights such as resources, education, health care, employment and legal representation or decision making. The value or worth given to women and girls differ depending on the system of traditional values, interpretation and practice of religious worship, socially constructed ideas of gender roles, and implementation of public policy systems. In many countries, girls are marginalised from the moment that they are born. i.e: China experienced one of the biggest female infanticides in history as having a girl signified giving their single spot of childbearing to a female
  • If you are born poor in a low income are most probably you will remain poor for the rest of your life. Opportunities for girls are extremely reduced in low income areas, leaving room for seeking alternative forms of exiting their environment. ie: Prostitution, falling into sexual trafficking traps, engaging in child labor, child-brides and so forth.  Most social and political systems do not provide the tools for girls to grow into functional members of a society.
  • Women are the largest victims of a patriarchal world and more women are likely to die of hunger than men.
  • Girls are the safest when they are given powerful tools to disrupt gender roles. When they are given access to education, a uniform, books, and access to health care, they are empowered with diverse forms of knowledge. This enables them to think critically about their future and to find solutions to community problems.
  • Biggest challenges faced by women in low-income urban areas than must be solve: ensuring food and financial security; domestic violence (gender-based violence takes more of a toll on women's health than that of traffic accidents and malaria combined.); shortage in housing; access to maternal health (in developing countries, a girl or a woman dies every minute in giving birth). 
  • As soon as we start giving opportunities to women in positions of power, we will see changes. Equal representation is essential because although half of the world's population is women, they remain highly unrepresented in all lines of the life sphere. 
  • Not only giving tools to women that will empower them but also engage as many men as possible in the process, and having them to advocate for women’s rights too. 
  • Internet is helping to bring more awareness about this issue and more women are being heard from remote places of the world.
  • When you empower a women, you empower a whole society, their household, their children and eventually, the world

Her favorite advocates and entrepreneurs engaged in social change and the empowerment of women are as follows: 

1) Half the Sky movement: http://www.halftheskymovement.org/

2) Room to Read: http://www.roomtoread.org/

3) UN - CEDAW:  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm

4) Dove Real Beauty Campaigns:  http://www.dove.us/social-mission/campaign-for-real-beauty.aspx

5) Rockefeller Foundation: 
http://www.rockefellerfoundation.org/blog/hillary-clinton-announces-foundations

6) The girl Effect: http://www.girleffect.org/

7) GoldieBlox:  http://www.goldieblox.com/

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Photo of Meena Kadri

Great insights, Carmen. I was particularly taken by the notion of education enabling women to think critically. Seems so obvious now that I read it – but something that we often take for granted elsewhere. Excited by where many of these insights will take us in the upcoming Ideas phase. Given her position. I wonder if Valentina has any favourite global initiatives which she thinks are making a difference?

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Photo of Carmen Escano

Hi Meena, absolutely right about how we sometimes take for granted certain things. Seeing from a different perspective, reframes a lot of things. Also very excited about how this insights will lead to the ideas phase. I have updated the entry with some links from my friend. Thank you very much for the suggestion :)

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Photo of Meena Kadri

That's great, Carmen – and thanks to you both for sharing. Tip: to activate links in your post, hit the Update Entry button up there on the right, then follow the instructions here: http://bit.ly/oi_link  

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