Today the world reflects for a moment to honor women. We bear homage to women who have made a difference in their communities; women that have struggled and resisted discrimination and injustice; women that have succeeded in the face of immense social, political and economic odds. As Global Exchange’s blog said today, “we celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future” and in the quotes of our everyday heroines we acknowledge the struggle and the love that inspires us to organize, educate and sacrifice for our children, community, nation and planet.
As a human rights advocate and someone blessed to have travelled the globe, I have seen how women across the world bear a disproportionate burden of the world’s material poverty and are usually the most vulnerable socioeconomically. Indeed despite all the progress the women’s movements have made, we still have a lot of work todo. Just look at the UN Women’s proclamation today and spend a few moments reviewing their decades of data. Clearly, women are more likely than men to be poor and at risk of hunger because of the systematic discrimination they face in decision-making, politics, education, healthcare, employment, and control of assets that often transcends physical borders.
All Reality Tours offer an in-depth look at the reality of destination countries through direct observation and engagement of the host society, however we are instructive with our program officers to include women as speakers, and include women’s organizations, into the itineraries. For us, this is about balance and inclusion.
Have women’s lives improved since the downfall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001? To what extent are women represented in the government in South Africa today? Are women and girls benefiting from the new education, health and job training programs that have been launched in Venezuela? Why are women and girls 80% of those being trafficked around the world today? How are economic reforms in Cuba effecting women? These are some of the questions that are explored on upcoming Reality Tours that examine women’s rights and gender discrimination.
Lastly, let me extend my deep admiration and gratitude to some the phenomenal women around the world that work their magic with us as program officers and advisors: Delia (Argentina), Marsha (Afghanistan), Virginia and Maisa (Brazil), Fan (China), Marta (Costa Rica), Isabel and Michelle (Cuba), Karen (Ireland), Annie (Guatemala), Rae (Haiti), Mala (India), Parvaneh (Iran), Faiza (Iraq & Jordan), Tasha (Jamaica), Noelia (Nicaragua), Hwayoung (North Korea), Lucy (Peru), Myesha (South Africa), Wanjinku (Uganda), and Nhu (Viet Nam). You inspire me!