March 7, 2017
SARAH MIDDLETON, Contributor
This past Valentine’s Day, Americans spent just over $18 billion on jewelry, flowers, cards, a night out for their sweetheart, and more.
For many, this was money well spent, but Valentine’s Day also offers a unique opportunity to examine our spending habits and reflect on how we allocate our resources. What if we had taken just a fraction of that $18 billion and directed it toward ensuring better lives for half of our global population?
What if instead of giving candy and chocolates, our gifts supported education and leadership programs to help women become successful business owners who were then able to feed their children, send their boys and girls to school, and break the cycle of poverty.
Several months ago, my organization decided to align with a number of impactful women-focused nonprofits to both promote and celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8. So, together, we formed a network for change called WomenForward – 12 nonprofits and one funder – intent on empowering and advancing girls and women around the world.
Our group is tearing down barriers to education for young women in post-conflict and developing countries; combating rape culture by empowering survivors; championing girls’ voices by providing mentors; helping low-income and immigrant women launch new careers and start or scale new businesses; and so much more.
Achieving gender equality can’t be done just by eradicating violence against women, preventing early and forced marriage, or ensuring that women have the same access to educational and financial resources as men. Achieving true gender equality means tackling a host of complex issues, many deeply ingrained societal barriers that prevent progress. It requires a dedicated global partnership that brings together governments, civil society, and the private sector.
How can you help? Join us.